***UPDATE – NOW CLOSED: MARCH 2017***
Yakamoz is a Turkish word with no English equivalent, meaning something like ‘the reflection of the moon on water, the ocean or the sea’ and was once voted the most beautiful word in the world. Well now Yakamoz BBQ restaurant & meze bar has arrived in beautiful Walthamstow at the St James’ Street end of the market.
They only opened at the beginning of November so it feels like they’re still finding their feet – sorting out the card payment machine, website and alcohol licence, but we decided to try it out on this wet and wintery weekend. Yakamoz is authentically Turkish – the food, the staff, and the slightly bizarre decor combination of exposed brick walls, kebab shop charcoal grill, chandelier lighting and bright blue flowers on the tables.
The Humus Kavurma (£5.50) is a tahini rich, cold chickpea humus topped with finely cubed fried lamb, pinenuts and spices. We wolfed it down with the fresh hot homemade bread until we were fighting over the last swipe of the plate. We wanted to try the Pasa Meze a kind of beetroot, yogurt and feta dip but it wasn’t ready as everything is homemade, so we had Zeytinyagli Cali Fasulyesi (£4) instead – string beans in tomato and olive oil. These simple but less common dishes make a change from the standard Turkish kebab shop repertoire.
The front window houses the daily stews and baked dishes, like in the traditional Turkish lokantasi restaurants. For only £7 (including a drink) I had an aubergine slowly baked until meltingly soft, stuffed with a tomatoey minced lamb served with a simple boiled rice and orzo pilaf. It was divine. The other foodie went for the Kaburga (£10.50), succulent chargrilled lamb ribs served with the pilaf rice plus a spicy bulgur wheat. There was complimentary extras of a generous plate of salads and pickles to share and homemade Cacik (yogurt dip) and Antep Ezmesi (chilli sauce / salad) and warm roasted onions in pomegranate molases, and another basket of that moreish bread.
We saved just enough space to share dessert, Kadayif (£3.50) – fine shredded pastry wrapped around a buttery pistachio filling, oven baked and then soaked in a sugary syrup. With a Turkish coffee it was a sticky but satisfying end to our lunch. We went to Yakamoz because the weather was so wet, grey and depressing, but left with a much warmer glowing feeling inside.
If they keep the standards up this place is a welcome addition to the growing Walthamstow restaurant scene. Once they’ve sorted the licence out it will a great place for a local night out. There are other Turkish options around town, but lunch today was definitely worth the walk down the market (it’s near Lidl’s). We were impresed by the dishes from the kitchen and the grill – the waiter proudly said “our chef is amazing” and told us that everything is handmade in the restaurant. Certainly there was an army of staff in the kitchen and the food tastes good and the portions are generous. We’ll be back to try the impressive fresh fish displayed on ice in the chill counter very soon.
We recommend this place if you want a taste of simple Turkish cooking, really well done at a reasonable price, our total bill was just short of £35. The friendly and efficient service, comfortable surroundings, and wide choice of dishes are a winner – this could become one of our favourite places.
Yakamoz, 18 High Street, Walthamstow, London, E17 7LB
Tel: 020 3305 5202