Where: 50 Baker Street, London, W1U 7BT
When: Friday, 12.30pm
Can I book? Yes – at lunch, and for groups of 6+ after 4pm
We’ve been doing a tour of local(ish) lunch spots recently and our latest was at the brilliant Yosma. The kitchen is headed up by Hus Vedat, late of Jamie Oliver’s Barbecoa, and the menu focuses on modern and vibrant Turkish food.
The place is huge – an open plan seating area is decorated in dark teal with chipped white tiles, set off by dark wood and vintage cafe chairs, giving it a chic but lived-in feel. The staff are great – very friendly and attentive, even during a busy lunch. We’ve both been getting in trouble lately for taking lengthy lunch breaks (oops!) but the food here arrived super quickly, so for once this wasn’t a concern.
And the food! I eat Turkish food quite a lot so I wanted to avoid slightly more run-of-the-mill fare such as hummus and baba ghanoush (even though I’m sure it would have been excellent here), choosing instead delicious sounding dishes you’d be pushed to find elsewhere.
We started with a plate of incredible house pickles. I don’t know if this has become obvious, but I’m obsessed with pickles and pickling, so I was THRILLED to see a huge plate of pickled chillies, cabbage, and gherkins, generously be-dilled, heading my way. Too often you get a piddling little pile of pickles that barely touch the sides, but not so here. Top marks. Delicious, too. With the pickles came some really great bread (on the house, love bread on the house), and our cold meze starter of roasted golden beetroot with dill and garlic oil, which was a perfect combo.
We then got a couple of hot fish starters: a whole fried red mullet, which was deliciously crispy on the outside and meltingly soft underneath, and then the real star of the show: chickpea flour-fried calamari with squid ink tarator, with lime and pul biber. This is so so good. It’s worth going, just for this. There’s always something a bit thrilling about eating black food that isn’t just charcoal. Anyway, this squid is so delicious. You get rings, tentacles and…squares? What do you call those? It’s nice to have a variety of cuts in any case. The earthy sweetness of the tahini in the tarator is a perfect counterpoint to the crunchy sharpness of the squid. I could go on and on about this, but I’ll spare you… Just go and get some.
The last thing we ordered and devoured, despite being pretty damn full by this point, was the spinach and feta borek. I can rarely resist a borek, and this is a great one – a delicious end to a really good lunch. Yosma is one of those restaurants where you could easily order one of everything on the menu, and expect each one to be just as good as the last. It’s a really good vibe as well, and in a part of London I don’t often go to. Super impressed. I’ll be back to try pretty much everything else, and SOON.