Yosma in Marylebone serves up a real taste of Turkish delight!
One of my favourite ways to eat is with friends and family sat around a big table and sharing a load of different plates we can dip in and out of. And so it was that when I received an invitation to try out Yosma on Baker Street that I was bound to accept. The fact that it is a Turkish restaurant was a bonus too, reminding me of my Turkish holiday to Gulluk and its surrounds which I can highly recommend.
Behind the vast window exterior is a very contemporary and understated restaurant. Divided into different levels and sections which still give a complete view of all dining areas and with an open kitchen, it is a warm and inviting environment designed by interiors expert Afroditi Krassa. The long bar gives a birds eye view of proceedings and is the perfect place to sit and contemplate for a while, sipping on delicious cocktails from a menu designed by mixologist Matt Whiley.
We started with a demonstration of a traditional Turkish drink called raki. Our server poured the spirit into chilled glasses and we tried it neat, wowsers, it was pretty strong. If you like aniseed flavours then this is for you just don’t mention that it’s a bit similar to Sambuca. We were then presented with ice and chilled water which when added to the raki made it much more easy to slide down.
Now it was time for my favourite part, bring on the Turkish food and what a veritable feast it was! With the kitchen headed up by former Jamie Oliver’s Barbecoa chef Hus Vedat it was bound to be good and my taste buds were salivating (it had been a long time since breakfast!). Our first dishes were hummus with lemon and garlic, feta cheese & melon and a broad bean Pate (for want of a better word) all served alongside freshly baked bread.
This was a VERY good start but there is more to come! A further selection of dishes in the form of Levrek Marine (seabass marinated in grapefruit and chilli) and golden beetroot joined in the party closely followed by Pasturma, air-dried beef and Kopoglu, aubergine with peppers and tomatoes, which was unequivocally one of my favourites.
You may well be right in thinking that I was pretty full by now but I ploughed on in the name of fairness to the rest of the dishes. If you knew me as a child you will know that I NEVER entertained fish on my plate, it made me gag. I have come a long way since then and that is just as well, our next dish was a beautiful sight. A whole Cornish turbot, grilled to perfection and ever so meaty. I wasn’t even bothered about the head and eyes still being on it, in fact I dove into that fish head and dug out the cheeks, delicious!
No Turkish meal would be complete without strong Turkish coffee and some sweet treats. This was very different to the coffees I had on my road trips around the coastal towns of southern Turkey. Whilst this was still strong it was a lot smoother and was really, very good.
The first dessert was Kunefe, made with pastry, cheese and sugary syrup it was not for me I’m afraid. I still haven’t managed to find my sweet tooth. My fellow diners had a differing opinion though and devoured it. I can always tell when a dish is that good because no-one talks and it was rather quiet around the table. Sambah was the one I appreciated the most, a semolina cake with homemade ice-cream followed by a poached pear with walnuts and basil.
As a fun way to round off our night we had been told a tale of Turkish women sitting around drinking coffee and then reading each others fortunes from the dregs. I made a haphazard effort to read those of my companions and came up with some interesting images but I think we’ll leave it there, what happens in Yosma stays in Yosma!
I thoroughly enjoyed my night here. The service was excellent and the food even better. Whether you are after a relaxed drink, a quick bite at the open kitchen bar or a great dinner with friends, this is worth checking out. Located on Baker St, Yosma is now my new favourite Turkish restaurant.