THE TRANSATLANTIC MAGAZINE
Rüya means dream. Something we all need at the moment. With vacations on ice and the sun and sea out of reach, the dream is all we get. But if Muhammad can’t go to the mountain, perhaps a night out in Mayfair!
Restaurateur Umut Özkanca certainly found a dream location. It’s swank and done up beautifully. The décor is super contemporary but the wood-burning oven, copper tea urns and ceramic tiles add a rustic quality and modern Turkish music gives a holiday vibe.
Chef Patron Colin Clague has created a fantastic menu, inspired by the regions of Anatolia and elevated to a Mayfair standard. Again, a seamless mix of modern with tradition. The bar, too, is on point. An Anatolian Fizz (£18) was a fine though pricey cocktail. A Champagne flute, rimmed in raspberry sherbet and filled with gin, rose syrup, lemon and Champagne had me licking the glass!
Compressed watermelon, sheep cheese, tomato and pine nuts (£12) was a revelation. The watermelon, almost meaty in texture, simply exploded in my mouth. The whipped cheese was exquisite but there wasn’t nearly enough of it.
Confit of aubergine (£14) was the juiciest eggplant I have ever eaten. Served with slow cooked onions, tomato sauce and feta, it was well balanced and sizzling hot. A freshly baked simit (sesame coated, doughnut shaped bread) was perfect for sopping up all the pan juices. Bread crumbs from the simit are used to coat baby squid (£12). It works very well, giving a great crunchy texture but the squid were overcooked and chewy. Avocado yoghurt and a red chili dip were both good condiments.
Beef tartare (£14) was beautifully spiced with cumin, mixed with bulgur and served in fresh baby gem leaves. Perfect finger food. But Aged Kasar cheese pide with slow cooked egg (£16) was the evening’s highlight. The bread from the wood fired oven is exceptional, the melted cheese packed with flavor and the yolk, spread over the top, adds just the right touch of luxury.
24 hour slow-cooked short rib (£38) falls off the bone and melts in your mouth. Chickpea puree and a chili BBQ glaze add depth and spice. Barley risotto with wild mushrooms, truffle and sage (£28) was masterful. The risotto was creamy but still had bite and the dish has an earthy quality that tastes heavenly. Turkish spoon salad (£11) with pomegranate dressing added a light bite of freshness to the full flavored mains.
A glass of Terrazas de los Andes Malbec, 2017 (£15) was a good if not exceptional pairing. The fruit is understated but oak and tannins are well balanced with vanilla and spice. The wine list is extensive and pricey.
Rice pudding (£8) is the creamiest ever and comes with a gorgeous rose ice cream. Baked Kadayif pastry with Majdule cheese, rose and orange blossom syrup and pistachio ice cream (£15) is a joy. It has everything. Sweet, savory, crunch, cream, hot, cold… In short, a dream!