The Baker Street restaurant may be billed as a ‘meyhane, mangal and raki bar’, but it’s miles away from the rambunctious, functional grill houses to which Turkish families and hip kids flock to feast on vast mixed grills. The Good Food Society group’s seriously sleek setup features an open kitchen, elegantly unflashy decor, and a menu you can graze from or feast upon. It’s not theme-y, or fussy, or novel. It’s just a thoroughly pleasant place to dine.
If you know Turkish cuisine, you’ll find the menu smattered with words that will instil confidence from the off – pastirma (cured beef sausage); haydari (herby strained yogurt); uykuluk (sweetbreads). If you’re into fine food, you’ll be every bit as pleased by phrases like ‘Cornish day-boat fish’ and ‘Josper-grilled best-end chops’.
Menu lingo’s all well and good, but rest assured; any Bee Gees-esque doubts that ‘it’s only words’ will fast be dispelled. Come with a crowd, because then you can cover the table with variously-sized plates and pick prime morsels like a hungry magpie.
And there are rather a lot of prime morsels to be savoured. It’s not easy to refine classic dishes whilst retaining their heart, but suffice to say that exec. chef Hus Vedat is a passed master in that art – whether it’s ravioli-like lamb manti swimming in a silky sea of minty yogurt and chilli oil; grilled octopus atop earthy black-eyed beans; a beautiful, delicate roasted golden beetroot salad, or any of the other umpteen dishes we ordered and swiftly demolished alongside a solid Turkish red and various rakis (which also pepper a short, smart cocktail list).
Top tip: when it comes to pud, ‘please allow 15 minutes’ is usually a good omen. Here, the virtue of patience earns you a silver salver of kunefe – shredded wheat pastry enclosing salty, stretchy cheese, the whole shebang soaked in syrup and showered with jewel-like pistachios. I can still taste it. You need to taste it.
Go for the manti, stay for the kunefe, and, in between, enjoy all kinds of refined Turkish delights. Yosma’s long overdue, and long may it prosper.
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