Although I’m a bit leery of most brands, there are, nonetheless, a few that I can’t help but favour. For instance, every time I’m in London, I seem to end up having lunch with my mother at least once at Carluccio’s. Why don’t we do something different? Probably because with family, you like to recreate history, and you have a few favourite spots to do so. And more than that, once you find something good, something you know you can count on, you can enjoy the other good things that come with a meal, such as the talk around the table — and in my family there are big sprawling conversations that require an equally robust meal. That’s why I was a bit reluctant at first to experience Carluccio’s in Istanbul which has been open a few months now. Would it be the same? I wondered. Well thanks to my new gig writing and shooting for Marie Claire Turkey I was lucky enough to sample Carluccio’s at Kanyon in Istanbul the other week — and I have to compliment the executive chef. Not only has he and his team faithfully recreated many of Carluccio’s favourites, they’ve brought some great new additions to the menu. It was so good, in fact, that I decided to take my mother the following week. And Mama’s verdict? “Better than London!” A new Istanbul tradition? Seems so.