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Thursday 20 January 2022

Yeni London - Fine Turkish Cooking Like You Have Never Tasted Before!

 Name: Yeni London

Address: 55 Beak Street, W1F 9SH, Soho, London, https://www.yeni.london/

Cost: 10-dish Carte Blanche Tasting Menu at £79pp.

About: Chef Civan Er is the chef-owner of Yeni Lokanta (https://www.yenilokanta.com/), an established fine dining restaurant in Istanbul. He opened Yeni London in Soho in 2019 aiming to bring a more sophisticated style of Turkish cooking to London but in a casual, sharing plate-type restaurant.

And indeed, Yeni London was nothing like what I had tried at other Turkish restaurants in the UK. Living in North London, I am lucky enough to have a plethora of fantastic Turkish restaurants on and around Green Lanes, N4, which I frequent often. But nothing here comes close to our experience at Yeni London.

Yeni London occupies an enviable spot with plenty of natural light and very high ceilings on Beak Street, Soho. With exposed bricks on the walls, wooden flooring and leather banquette, we loved the elegant and yet casual setting of this restaurant.

The service on the night we attended was nothing short of outstanding – the British-Turkish waiter helping us was more than happy to be quizzed about every single dish he served me, I learnt a lot from him on that night, and it was refreshing for me to meet staff who were obviously knowledgeable and proud of what they were doing. It really added to my appreciation of the food.

What We Ate: We opted for the Carte Blanche tasting menu at £69 pp, this is a 10-dish menu featuring some of the restaurant’s star dishes chosen by the chef himself. Many of the dishes were on the menu, some were not, but every dish was a surprise. I loved the variety of dishes but also the generosity of the menu – we nearly had to be rolled out of the restaurant at the end of our meal, put simply, you will not go hungry on this menu! This is what we had:

1. Yeni’s home cured beef pastrami (not on main menu) served with toasted, warm Turkish flatbread.

2. The most scrumptious dish of grilled aubergine, Colston Bassett stilton, figs, Port and smoked almonds. This was smokey, and aromatic with luscious figs and the STAR dish of our meal.

3. Tempura of feta cheese wrapped in vine leaf, served over red pepper purée, with chilli, cumin and honey. Light, crispy, excellent.

4. Fine green beans in a zing dressing of coriander, sesame and sivri biber (Turkish long, hot green pepper), with red grapefruit and coconut flakes.

5. Manti dumplings filled with dried aubergine in a wonderfully nutty broth of double fermented yoghurt with chilli and chlorophyl oils. And this really highlighted the beauty of the Carte Blanche menu – manti in yoghurt sauce would not have been my first choice on their menu, but I am so glad I was served it.

6. Scottish langoustine in Raki sauce (not on main menu) - tender langoustines served in a rich, bisque-style sauce with a touch of aniseed from the Turkish raki (grape spirit).

7. A refreshing salad of citrus fruit including pomelo, grapefruit and orange with slices of fennel and finely chopped dill topped with a spicy sour cherry sorbet. This was simply heavenly.

8. And when we thought this could not get any better, we were served our main – a whole, organic, slow-roasted salt-marsh lamb neck, served with cavolo nero, tamarind and wild mushrooms. 

As with many meats cooked on the bone (especially when done properly), this was succulent, meltingly tender and intensely flavoured.

9. Pre-Dessert of Turkish Kadayif fried dough filled with cheese custard and served with pistachio ice cream.

10 . Dessert of Hazelnut Panna Cotta with pumpkin sauce, wafer with hazelnut cream.

What We Drank:
We enjoyed a couple of cocktails before our dinner – in-house made tonic and gin (£10) and Negroni (£10.50) were well-made and strong.

With our meal, we shared a bottle of Kara Sevda Papaskarasi, Chamlija, Turkey (£56), made from 100% Papaskarasi grape, a native Turkish varietal, which was highly recommended by our server. Lightly coloured but with great acidity and plenty of soft tannins, this was a great complement to our food. Sound recommendation.

*that* grilled aubergine was to die for, as was the manti in double fermented yoghurt, the citrus salad with fennel and the slow-roasted whole neck of lamb. Great service and atmosphere.

Dislikes: None.

Verdict: For Turkish food like you have never experienced before, Yeni London is the place to be. Fantastic food, great service and one of the best aubergine dishes I have ever eaten. I can’t wait to return. Highly recommended.

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