Parties stress me out – I’m worried that no one will turn up; I am terrified I might poison someone and what happens if I run out of wine! So, my heart goes out to anyone who starts their own restaurant as they must have all of those fears and more. Especially, if you can obviously see that not only do they take huge pride in their business but that it is a little slow getting off the ground.
Having walked past Yakamoz (St James Street End of the High Street – 18 High Street, E17 7LB) several times, seen the delicious food and watched the staff anxiously waiting for customers, I really wanted to try it. One of my best friends is moving to Manchester so when she wanted a catch-up which encompassed our friendship, I decided a pretty random night out would pretty much cover all that we have done together.
So, on a quiet Monday night, we bundled into the restaurant (after a bottle of bubbles) desperately in need of warmth and nice Turkish food. The charming manager explained that there was a slight hold up with the licence but BYO was fine so we indulged in a bottle of ‘Sauvignon Blanc a la Lidl’.
Finally unwrapping ourselves, we looked around the restaurant which was decked out in what can only be described as rustic chic – traditional Turkish grill set up at the front, exposed brick walls and pristine white table clothes. This suggests they may eventually do take-away's which would delight the sloth in me no end.
Turning my attention to the menu, I was very pleased to see such a variety of tasty Turkish dishes but between putting the world to rights and sipping our wine, it took so long to decide, that we just went for the hot meze platter, bread and insalata russa.
Fate had shined on us and when the meze arrived, it had all the hall marks of a glorious Turkish feast. Red glistening Turkish sausage, crisp calamari, borek, falafel and meat balls surrounded a glorious dip which wasn’t hummus but was very very good. The insalata russa was about the best I had ever had – just the right about of mayonnaise to ingredients which were slightly crisp.
Having munched through this spread while putting the world to rights, we decided to share lamb ribs and another portion of insalata russa. Okay, we were pigs but very happy ones. The perfectly cooked lamb ribs came with two types of rice and a portion of mixed Mediterranean salad complete with baby pickled chillies (which was big enough to provide lunch the next day).
Speaking to the manager as we enjoyed our feast, we learnt that not only are the dishes prepared fresh and the chef is excellent (something that I can only agree with) but they offer a selection of fish. We also learnt – although he didn’t say it – that Yakamoz is a restaurant which takes quiet pride in its service, food and place within the community – a place which leaves you with a lovely warm feeling.
And so our trip to Turkish finished and as we waddled off into the night, having paid well under £40 for the feast, we realised that it rather summed up our friendship. Moments of sheer randomness which turn out successfully in the end – occasionally scaring bystanders.
Will I go back to Yakamoz? Most definitely, in fact, you will have a hard time stopping me!
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