A few years ago it felt like all my friends were getting married and now we have hit baby season! A good friend is expecting her first little one and we decided to catch up so I could share some baby tips over lunch at Yosma, a hip new Turkish eatery near Baker street.
Turkish restaurants in London are usually halal so I was surprised to learn that the meat at Yosma was not halal. The chicken is halal – though sadly there was only one chicken dish on the menu! Nonetheless, I was intrigued by the unique ingredients and the abundance of delicious vegetarian options.
London-born Executive Chef Hus Vedat has Turkish origins and is bringing his mixed heritage to the plate at Yosma. It seems fitting then that his past experience working at Jamie Oliver’s Barbecoa and the Caxton Grill infleunce this new venture. Afterall, Yosma is a Meyhane, Mangal and Raki bar and ‘Mangal’ means Barbeque!
I ordered a cold cucumber and mint Ayran whilst waiting for my friend to arrive. Sipping it, I admired the stylish modern interior of Yosma. The decor really set this place apart from the usual traditional style Turkish restaurants.
My friend arrived glowing with her 37 week bump. It’s amazing how good some people manage to look when they’re pregnant! We ordered a few things off the menu and got engrossed in conversation ranging from labour stories to how to choose a buggy!
Some lovely warm freekeh bread arrived on the table with our starters.
Pancar, a dish of roasted golden beetroot, dill and garlic oil was moreish.
Freekeh is a supergrain made from green durum wheat. I’ve never tried it before coming to Yosma but really enjoyed the texture of the grain which was firmer than quinoa. The Freekeh salad with spring onion, blueberries and pomegranate was one of the prettiest salads I’ve ever seen. It was sure to be an Instagram hit!
Salty Hellim or halloumi was balanced with a deep earthiness from garlicky sauteed mushrooms and olives.
I had to try the only halal dish so ordered the Tavuk. I expected the usual grilled chicken breast skewers but was presented with a grilled chicken breast on a bed of charred corn and tahini. I was happy about the unexpected twist but unfortunately the chicken had become very dry from the cooking and was a little tough to eat. I also found the entire dish lacking in seasoning. The accompanying fried potatoes with garlic and mint were spectacular!
When it comes to meal choices, I’d say I’m definitely more of a savoury than a sweet person. However, as we have discussed pregnancy and babies a little already, it’s intriguing to note that after having my son, I find myself drawn evermore to puddings! I spotted my favourite Turkish dessert of Kunefe on the menu and knew I had to try out the Yosma edition.
For those of you who have never tried Kunefe before, it is a Levantine dish of soft cheese coated with crispy shreds of pastry and topped with a sweet lemon and rose syrup and crunchy pistachios. Yosma’s Kunefe was faultless as demonstrated by this photograph of delectable soft cheese being pulled directly into my mouth!
My friend had the fig tart with clotted cream which had a lovely texture and taste.
The price of around £30 per person meant we had eaten a considerable amount. Compared to the more traditional Turkish restaurants, this was a little steep but the ambience of the restaurant was in keeping with the price point.
Overall, the food at Yosma was interesting and different. I wish there was more halal protein on the menu. I’d have loved to try some of the lamb dishes on the menu which sounded heavenly. However, I was pretty impressed with the taste and quality of the vegetarian dishes. Would I be back? Probably. Would I have preferred a traditional grilled shish tawuk skewer? Hell yes.
For more information about Yosma, see: http://www.yosma.london/