After a lifetime of ‘borrowed’ tenners and late-night taxi runs, I figured it was about time I paid my dad back for his services with some slap-up nosh. Sadly I’m not much of a chef, so on a drizzly Monday night we hailed a black cab (he doesn't do Uber apparently) and headed to Broadgate Circle’s latest addition - a sleek Turkish restaurant promising sweet wines and open-flame Mangal cooking.
Spanning two levels, with al fresco terraces to the front and back, Baraka’s interiors are made up of muted tones, futuristic light fixtures and dark wooden floors. Chic? Sure. Soulless? Just a smidge. Luxe airport lounge vibes aside, the open kitchen brought to life this places’ signature mangal grill cooking, and the friendly waitresses made sure to more than make up for what the interiors lacked in warmth.
To kick things off? A basket of fluffy flatbread and creamy hummus so good I was scared that the rest of the evening would be a downward spiral (spoiler alert - it wasn’t). Dangerously at risk of filling up on carbs before we so much as sniffed any grilled meats, we cracked on with our orders, opting for the mixed mezze (£11.95) and the beetroot and feta salad (£6.75).
My mezze was enough to quell the rising stomach rumbles and then some. Arriving on a long plate were 6 healthy dollops of humus kavurma, tabbouleh, patlıcan soslu, piyaz, kisir and tzatziki, with a couple of sigara borek (feta pastry) and balls of falafel thrown in for good measure. Hastily diving from one heap to the next, the smokey flavour of the patlıcan soslu (a marinated mix of grilled aubergine, mixed pepper, onion and tomato) was lifted by the minty fresh tabbouleh and creamy feta, culminating in a mega symphony of bread-dunking Anatolian delight.
And to wash it all down with? A bottle of Kavaklıdere Yakut Öküzgözü-Boğazkere (£23.95) a rich and well-balanced red that immediately transported me to balmy summer evenings and drawn out al fresco feasts. It also just happened to be the menu's cheapest bottle, handy.
Keen to sample the open-flame grilled meat that this place prides itself on, my order of the Baraka special (£18.95) arrived promptly - a mountain of diced lamb loin sat atop a bed of fire-roasted puree aubergine and served with a portion of rice and broccoli. The lamb melted in the mouth, releasing a depth of Silk route-inspired flavour that far-surpassed any Turkish food I’ve tasted before.
Raising the white flag and requesting a doggy bag for the remains of our mammoth-sized mains, we order a sharing portion of Kazandibi (£6.25) to finish things off. A wibble-wobble caramelized mastic milk pudding served with uber-fragrant rose ice cream, crumbled pistachio and sweet pommegranate seeds, it was the perfect soothing antidote to our burgeoning meat sweats, providing some oh-so-pretty content for the ‘gram while it was at it.
The DesignMyNight Digest
Baraka certainly comes up trumps with their smokey meat offerings and sweet treats. Given our drizzly Monday night reservation, it's little surprise that this place was on the empty side, but when summer hits? I have a feeling it will be elbows at dawn to secure a spot on the sunny terrace - glass of Aperol spritz and dish of hummus in hand, no doubt.
Baraka can be found at 1 Finsbury Avenue, Broadgate (EC2M 2PF), and is open daily from 7:30am until 1am. Looking for more dining inspo? Check out our guide to the best restaurants near Liverpool Street here.