I first heard about Lokanta via a friend of a friend, who was so taken by the service, the menu and the ambience of this Turkish restaurant that she would go almost every week. She was a regular. A first-name terms, drinks order memorised by the waiter kind of regular.
It strikes me that, even allowing for personal preferences when it comes to cuisine, somewhere with such a faithful following can’t be a bad place. I mean, it must have something special about it.
Lokanta, which sits on Glossop Road just alongside the Broomhill Tavern, is a remarkably well considered place. It has balance. The interior is smart, comfortable and atmospheric. It doesn’t have the hustle and bustle of some of the London Road restaurants, but then this is Broomhill. This is where couples come for a few drinks and a bite to eat, it’s where workers call in on their way home from the city centre, it’s where parents spoil their student children when visiting them at university. And so it turns out that the clientele is entirely eclectic: young, old, skint, flush, couples, groups. Balance.
The menu, too, has been well thought out by Faruk Gunay, who hails from Turkey’s Mediterranean coast and runs Lokanta with his British wife Ruth.
There are a couple of tempting early bird offers involving some picks from the grill menu. There's also a good-sized meze menu, allowing for tapas style dining, which is great fun and inevitably causes that ever-so-British "you have the last one, no you have it" finale when the number of prawns isn’t divisible by the number of people dining.
While the grill menu looks good, the meze route allows for greater exploration into Turkish cuisine – and there’s certainly plenty to go at, with something for everyone. Given the preconception of Turkish cuisine as meat-heavy, there is a great range of vegetarian meze, including stuffed vine leaves and peppers, aubergine dip, grilled halloumi, and fritters made of carrot or courgette. There is also plenty of intrigue in the menu. Who knows what "Turkish wedding soup" is, and doesn’t "pastrami baked hummous" sound amazing?
The food doesn’t disappoint. Meat is moist, flavours are bold but not brash. The pistachio spread alone is worth coming back for.
Wash it down with a couple of glasses of wine or, to take you back to that Turkish holiday a few years ago, an ice cold Efes. Finish with Yee Kwan's Turkish delight ice cream. You may find yourself coming back again, and again.
- Words by
- Will Roberts
- Images by
- Gemma Thorpe