El Basha or The Basha was a term used n the early 1900's to describe the elite society during the Turkish and Ottoman empires. You can also hear the word pronounced as “Pasha” or “pashawat”. Having the title of “Basha” indicated a certain degree of social class and wisdom. The Basha was characterized by wearing a Tarboosh or Fez. Just like the flag, the tarboosh was a national emblem. It was de rigeur at the Turkish court, in the civil service, the army and the police, and even diplomats abroad.
During the reign of Turkey's Sultan Mahmud Khan II (1808-39), European code of dress gradually replaced the traditional robes worn by members of the Ottoman court. The change in costume was soon emulated by the public and enior civil servants, followed by the members of the ruling intelligentsia and the emancipated classes throughout the Turkish Empire. In their stead the Sultan issued a finman (royal decree) that the checheya headgear in its modified form would become part of the formal attire irrespective of his subjects' religious sects or millets.
The checheya had many names and shapes. In Istanbul it was called “fez” or “phecy” while the modern Egyptian version was called “tarboosh” (pronounced tar-boosh) a derivative from the Persian words “sar” meaning head and “poosh” meaning cover. It was basically a brimless, cone shaped, flat topped hat made of felt. Originating in Fez, Morocco, the earliest variety was in the form of a bonnet with a long turban wound around it which could be white, red or black.
As this century comes to a close, tarbooshes and top hats have become relics of the past and can only be found in masquerades, fancy dress balls and in one or two wayward freeman or Shiner lodges.
By choosing the name El Basha we want to bring you a little bit of our history and culture. We wish you an enjoyable dining experience.