For those in the industry, it can get a little boring discussing culinary trends. Eyes roll at phrases like ‘bricks and mortar‘ or ‘new-American cuisine‘. Anatolian food might be a contender for a trend that is a little overdone. Indentikit restaurants serving solid Turkish food at high prices in a starry setting have certainly increased in popularity. But none of them hold a candle to the cooking taking place at Yeni on Beak Street.
For those up on the Istanbul dining scene, Civan Er is one of its brightest lights. Renowned for his light, innovative and eclectic take on traditionally Turkish flavours, he‘s made a mark on fine dining way beyond Yeni Lokanta‘s neighbourhood of Beyoglu or even his home country, and looks situated to do the same in Soho. The dining room is a tall-ceilinged, whitewashed bare brick affair that flirts with the ascetic. The most prominent feature of the room is Civan himself - who presides regally over the pass surveying the final iterations of dishes with meticulous attention.
The wine selection skews to lesser-known regions, varietals and intervention and was an adroit complement to the food. Beetroot with dried sour cherry and kouvraki was some of the best we‘ve had in our lives, teasing out the true nature of the plant in the mode of Dan Barber or Rene Redzepi. A cig kofte tartare with crisp fried duck egg and sumac molasses was equally beguiling, the meat flavoured in the traditional manner of Anatolian meatballs but left raw and lissom. Pan-fried 12 month feta on a bed of samphire, spiced honey and hazelnut hit all the high notes, whilst a main of roasted beef ribs with isot pepper, cumin and sourdough was a hearty, unctuous treat.
Yeni is another neo-Anatolian restaurant, but it is miles away from any other that has opened in London in the past few years due to its raw technicality and prescient innovation. In short, it‘s one of London‘s most exciting restaurants to launch this winter.
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