In Turkish, the phrase yeni lokanta literally means ‘new restaurant’.
Which is slightly ironic, because it means that Istanbul’s dining-scene darling, Yeni Lokanta, is no longer a yeni lokanta.
It opened way back in 2013, and is one of those effortlessly cool places that also happens to be a magnet for awards, with a small trove of them going to the place’s head chef Civan Er. Now, six years on, the man himself has come to London to bring us Yeni, (just meaning ‘new’) in Soho.
The two-floor space is simple and unfussy – large windows spill light onto wooden furnishings & white brick walls (trimmed by bright floral tiles) until the sun dips below the horizon, and they pass the baton onto the beautiful hand-blown glass chandeliers dangling from the ceiling. Your eye will be particularly drawn to the hypnotically glossy solid onyx wall parked behind the bar, built specially for the space by Istanbul-based designers and artisans.
The menu is much like the one found in the original space, with a blend of modernist Turkish cuisine and street food-style casual dishes – you can expect everything from Civan Er’s famed oven-roasted beef ribs with isot pepper; to a whole lamb shank with tamarind and rainbow chard; to roasted vine leaves with halloumi and labneh.
He’s also brought in a few new dishes for London, including Cornish scallops with carrot, walnuts and ginger (according to Er, you “can’t get good scallops in Turkey”, so this is one he’s been particularly looking forward to serving) and a whole line-caught seabass roasted with fennel and raki. Dessert include a smoked buffalo milk ice cream, and salted caramel panna cotta with pumpkin.
Oh, and apart from a rather stunning centrepiece wall they’ve also got some booze behind that bar we mentioned, including a strong list of wines and a few cocktails, almost all of which have some raki in them…
…if you’ve got a yen for something a little different.
NOTE: Yeni is open for lunch and dinner on weekdays, plus dinner on Saturdays. You can find out more, and make a booking, right HERE.
Yeni | 55 Beak Street, W1F 9SH
Image credit: Jade Nina Sarkhel
Like Turkish restaurants that’ll blow your socks off? Check out Oklava.