Working Lunch

Yeni is Turkish food, but not as you know it

With British produce and Istanbul flair, Soho's newest restaurant combines the best of both worlds

Strangely, despite London’s six million different cuisines, it’s all too easy to get stuck in a lunchtime rut. However, with great restaurants opening every month, you’ve got no excuse not to try something new – and it doesn’t get much newer than Yeni, celebrated Turkish chef Civan Er’s new restaurant on Beak Street. ‘We’re not an Istanbul restaurant in London,’ explains Er. ‘We’re a London restaurant, but with culinary expertise and knowledge from our Turkish traditions.’

The focus on creating something new extends from the dishes on the menu all the way to how Er sources traditionally Turkish ingredients right here in London. Even the name, Yeni, means new in Turkish. The Beak Street venue follows on from Er’s first restaurant, Yeni Lokanta, which he started six years ago in Istanbul.

‘Istanbul has had a major influence on my cooking’

‘We take inspiration from what we do in Istanbul, but we create new dishes here,’ explains Er. ‘We use local and seasonal produce from Britain, along with spices and techniques from back home, to create new combinations.’ He’s also worked with a producer on Maltby Street to recreate lamb sausages only found in Turkey, and has found a Greek delicatessen to that makes ‘excellent sheep’s yoghurt,’ which will feature heavily on Yeni’s menu.

Born and raised in Istanbul, Er received his formal training at Leiths Cookery School in London. Yeni will showcase the techniques he learnt in Britain, combined with the flavours and ingredients of his hometown. ‘Istanbul has had a major influence on my cooking,’ says Er. ‘It’s like a melting pot with Greeks, Kurds, Turks, Armenians. All these ethnicities have brought something from their food culture to Istanbul.’

Civan Er

Er’s take on manti – thin Turkish dumplings which he fills with dried aubergine – headline the new restaurant’s menu. They’re Yeni Lokanta’s most popular dish by far and, served with a sauce of goat’s yoghurt, ginger, onion, and pomegranate and sumac molasses, will give Londoners a unique flavour of Istanbul. Fish baked in paper with zatar, raki and lashings of olive oil will also ‘be an interesting new dish for the London clientele,’ says Er.

Whether you’re impressing a new client over lunch, or taking your team out to celebrate a recent success, Yeni is the place to head for a relaxed vibe and a superb taste of Istanbul on London terms.

55 Beak Street, W1F 9SH, yeni.london

If you can’t make it down, bring a taste Yeni to your desk with this one-box lunch recipe…

Carrot and ginger salad by Civan Er

800g carrots

2 cloves garlic

100g walnuts (shelled)

200ml olive oil

2 lemons (squeezed)

1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon chilli pepper

1 dessert spoon grated ginger

Salt

Method

1. Grate the carrot, stew it with the 50 ml olive oil on medium heat stirring from time to time.

2. Take it off the heat when it has lost most of its water and leave to cool.

3. Work all the ingredients together in a food processor.

4. Adjust the seasoning and serve with toasted bread.