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50 Baker Street
Joining London’s swelling ranks of stripped-back venues serving quality street food in a small-plate format, this new bar-restaurant brings a Turkish focus to the genre. ‘Yosma’ is Turkish for jade, yet you won’t find much evidence of such colour in this large almost clinically bare open-plan room of white tiles, dark wood and marble counters – although pretty glowing globes overhead soften the look, and an open kitchen adds energy to the mix. The menu of hot and cold meze plus larger grilled and baked dishes reads like a checklist of Turkish classics: lamb-shoulder köfte, moreish fermented freekeh bread, and rather timidly flavoured baba ganoush. Food arrives when it’s ready; order in stages if you prefer to give structure to a meal. Highlights include a cold serving of pit-roasted, sliced golden beetroot slicked with garlic oil; and beef short-rib, clay-baked in the caul for 12 hours (a pleasing juxtaposition of charcoal-tinged crunch and cushion-soft tenderness). There’s also plenty of lip-smacking Turkish tang in the yoghurt-doused lamb-neck dumplings with chilli, and grilled lamb breast with lemon yoghurt. For dessert, don’t miss the künefe: filo pastry dripping with lemon syrup (white cheese hidden within its golden layers). Prices are reasonable considering portion size and quality, although the bill rises rapidly thanks to the small-plate system. Charming, speedy service adds to the draw, as does a handsome bar with ample stocks of Turkish wine, raki and a short, assured cocktail list. In all, a new culinary high spot for Baker Street.
50 Baker Street
020 3019 6282
Baker Street Tube Station 507m
Marble Arch Tube Station 588m
Dorset Street 164m
The Wallace Collection 191m
Mon-Sun 12N-11pm (Sat-Sun 10am- Thurs-Sat -12M)
Food & Drink:
Rate & Review
Food + drink: 3
Upon arriving we were seated by a very nice receptionist straight away, we then spent 10 minutes waving at a waiter to get their attention so we could order a drink, when we did get service their knowledge of the wines was very poor.
It was then explained that we would need to order 3 to 4 dishes each for a good meal.
This was difficult to hear and the music was loud and of no specific style or genre
We asked if the humus came with flat bread and was told no, so we asked if we could order some and where told the bread is separate and it 2 slices per portion.
The humus was well made and had a good flavour, the hellim was very good wild mushrooms with pan fried halloumi
Kofte this was a great disappointment it came as 3 flat hard small burgers which lacked flavour.
Tuvak was very good nicely cooked chicken breast that was moist with a cream sauce.
Patates Kızartması where without doubt the best chips I have ever had.
Bulgur Pilav was ok but cold.
The Turkish delight cheese cake should get an award it was amazing.
We left feeling that while it was a Turkish restaurant that was attempting a fusion cuisine, that really sticking with a slightly more traditional concept and looking at the basic of service and customer expectations rather than reinventing the wheel it may be the better for it.
Food + drink: 4
The death of an Indian restaurant is always something to be mourned. When it was the healthy option that was Indali Lounge (spoiled only by advertising "as seen on TOWIE"), it is doubly sad. Anything coming in its place needs to be exceptional.
Yosma, whilst not exceptional, is a great addition to the burgeoning food scene in Marylebone. A far cry from the anglicised Ishtars and Topkapis of this world, the food is bright and tasty, the atmosphere welcoming and the whole effect, if not quite transporting one to the edge of the Bosphorus, at least a step up from the hummus and kebab restaurants that somehow still pass as Turkish in this town.
We went in the soft opening period, so it is perhaps unfair to criticise the service, but on hearing the dreaded phrase: "the food comes as prepared", we should perhaps have been more attuned to the fact that there would be a mad rush of food, followed by a long lull. This is what happened: the cold and hot meze, together with one of the grills, all arrived within a few minutes of each other, and the second of the grills some long time after the other dishes had been finished, their sauces mopped up with the deliciously olive oil scented bread.
The cocktails are lovely too: light and tangy, almost all highlighting the vast array of arak, but dipping into the wines by the glass does explain why Turkey is better know for arak than it is for wine. As Monty Python so eloquently put it: "this is a wine for laying down and avoiding". That was admittedly about Australian wine some 30 years back, so who knows - in 30 years time, maybe Turkish wine will have developed as much as Australian did since Eric Idle so ripped into them. For the moment, steer clear.
So yes, I will be back, but will take the precaution of ordering as I go along: first some cold meze. Once they're done, some hot. And so on. Fine that the dishes can come as prepared, but prepared at my pace, not the restaurant's.
Yosma's menu gave both hot and cold mezze, the mangal dishes and dishes from the clay oven. Dishes were recommended for sharing and served as and when they were ready. Prices for mezze dishes were around £6.00, mains starting at £11.00 and desserts were also priced around £6.00. At first glance, the prices seem reasonable. The dishes are suitable for sharing.
babaganoush (coal roasted aubergine pulp, lemon, garlic, oregano) £5.00 – a nice rustic style with chunks of aubergine. I much prefer the chunky texture to the super smooth type. The babaganoush carries a very nice flavour from the coal and I felt that it could do with a little more of the punchy flavours from the garlic. The complimentary bread tasted a stale (chewy and dry). Not free flow so be prudent.
levrek marine (marinated sea bass, grapefruit, fennel, lime, green chilli, basil) £6.00 – the Turkish way of ceviche with thinly and almost transparent sliced sea bass was very good. Flavours were predominantly tangy with the lime sprinkled with pieces of grapefruit, fennel, chilli and basil. Well balanced and pleasant in this summer's heat!
manti (turkish dumplings stuffed with lamb neck, yoghurt sauce, chilli and mint £6.00 – these petite dumplings covered in yoghurt sauce had a pretty chilli and mint oil drenched on top of them. The pastry was quite thick and doughy (which I secretly like). The filling was not quite enough for even the petite dumpling, and still the meaty lamb taste was slightly overpowering for my dear Malaysian diners but, again I secretly enjoyed it. It was quite average but I enjoyed it.
kalamar tave (chickpea flour fried calamari squid ink tartar, lime, pil biber) £7.00 – the calamari, with its tentacles, was fried until it had the right golden colour, and served with the black tartar it was visually very captivating. It had a good crunch, the tartar sauce was super salty.
ali nazik (lamb rump, oak fried aubergine, yoghurt, burnt tomato) £15.00 – it was my favourite dish of the night. The lamb rump cooked but still pink in the middle paired very nicely with the yoghurt and fried aubergine. The burnt chilli alongside also had a good chilli kick. The dish presented was generous, hearty – definitely my kind of food.
karides (prawn, shaved fennel, dill, za'atar) £14.00
ahtapot (octopus, oregano, black-eyed beans, grated ringa) £11.00 – the dish had a comforting factor. The charred octopus was chewy and beans were undercooked. This dish was quite a let down to the meal.
dana kaburga (short rib beef wrapped in caul, pickled cucumber) £11.00 – this dish looked like it ticked all the foodie expectations - proper chunky meat, falling off the bone, served on the bone - with the exception that it looked slightly dry. Apart from that, the flavours were nice but the cucumber pickle on the side was super salty.
The music was quite loud and although service was friendly, it was a little rushed. Dishes were good but most were way too salty.
The good points at Yosma was portions were generous – and I love the dinnerware. For a 50% discount on food, Yosma's soft launch was quite a bargain – if it was just for the lamb alone. Offer is valid until 4th September 2016.
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