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Yamabahçe

Restaurants, Turkish Marylebone
3 out of 5 stars

Time Out says

3 out of 5 stars

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A ‘pide’ (Turkish pizza) and grill restaurant on the corner of St Christopher’s Place.

If it’s all-weathers alfresco you’re after, it’s hard to beat Yamabahce. This Turkish ‘pide’ and grill restaurant, from veteran restaurateur Alan Yau (founder of Busaba Eathai, Wagamama and Babaji, to name a few) is right on the corner of where pedestrian oasis St Christopher’s Place meets James Street. It has plenty of outside tables and, if the air is chilly, a canvas marquee goes up over them and the heaters go on. Interiors aren’t as special: at street level it’s just two tables and a big wood oven (‘pide’ are essentially Turkish pizzas); downstairs there’s a large but cheap-looking basement space.

And the food is inconsistent. The best dish – A cast-iron skillet of warmly spiced, skin-on roast chicken – came from the confusingly-named ‘flatbreads’ section, a list of meaty grills served with a basket of (flat) bread. Hefty chunks of juicy meat were nestled next to a muddle of braised peppers, with roast tomatoes, charred green chillies (the fat, mild ones) and slivers of raw onion in the mix. The lahmacun wasn’t bad though. Here, they make the celebrated chilli-and-mince-topped flatbread with ground veal, rather than lamb (though it’s no worse for it), and the base was crisp and thin, as it should be. Two cold sides – a jewelled pomegranate and walnut salad, and a traditional cacik (yoghurt and cucumber dip) – were also decent.

But in spite of good, golden-edged, chewy dough, the pide were spoiled by sub-standard toppings. One, of ‘smoked’ aubergine, was wet and bland, the promised chilli completely absent. Another, of ‘rib-eye’, turned out to be dry curls of thin beef punctuated by a paste that tasted disturbingly like curry paste from a jar.

Superb service might have saved the day, but was just as all over the place: one waitress was pleasant and attentive, another downright rude. Still, if it’s a sunny day and you order carefully, this remains a plum spot.

Details

Address: 26 James Street
Marylebone
London
W1U 1EN
Transport: Tube: Bond Street
Price: Dinner for two with drinks and service: around £95.
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