Ishtar is one of the few places attempting to take Turkish cuisine upmarket, and while there’s nothing innovative about the food, this is a good bet for a slightly more formal meal. The restaurant fits perfectly into Marylebone: contemporary and welcoming, with ample space and an open kitchen tucked at the back. A roaring trade is done in lunches – £10.95 for mixed meze and a sis kebab is a steal – and the cooking is commendable. Biting into the íçli köfte unleashed an explosion of flavour; the crisp, light bulgar wheat shells contained a delicately spiced minced lamb filling. Stuffed vine leaves looked and tasted homemade – fragile, misshapen packages of rice and raisins, artfully served with a squiggle of pomegranate molasses. And Ishtar’s cupra bugulama (sea bream stew) uses wild mushrooms and asparagus to excellent effect. The bread in the iskender kebab was remarkably creamy and gooey (lots of butter, we suspect) and there wasn’t so much yoghurt as to overwhelm the lamb’s flavour. Although some inauthentic crowd-pleasers appear on the menu (smoked salmon with avocado, asparagus risotto), there’s nothing dumbed-down about Ishtar’s approach. Service is hardly bubbly, but it’s unobtrusive and efficient. Prices are about 25% higher than those outside central London, but we reckon this is still a good deal.
10-12 Crawford Street
|Opening hours:||Meals served noon-11pm Mon-Thur, Sun; noon-11.30pm Fri, Sat|
|Transport:||Tube: Baker Street tube|
|Price:||Main courses £9.95-£15.95. Set lunch (noon-6pm) £10.95 2 courses, £12.95 3 courses. Set meal £27.50 3 courses|
Average User Rating
3.3 / 5
- 5 star:0
- 4 star:2
- 3 star:0
- 2 star:1
- 1 star:0
The food is simple but very well cooked and the staff is very polite. The Borek had a bit too much pastry inside and the spinach couldn´t be tasted at all but the cheese was deliocious nevertheless. And the lamb in the Kul Basti was super tender and tasty but the best thing was the Yogurtlu Tavuk Sis, with that great combination of spiced chicken, tomato sauce and yogurt. Overall, it has been a good experience and we would surely return.
Food is really good, excellent value lunch deal but service let's it down drastically- wont go there again because of it.
Excellent local restaurant. Polite, friendly staff and great food. Good value as well. All in all worth the walk.