Since having opened in Istabul in 2005, the Turkish café, bar and brasserie, Kitchenette, has gone from strength to strength with a total of 24 being opened well across the borders into Baku, St Petersburg and last November it came to Putney.
Situated on Putney Bridge Road, the 80 seat café and bar is light and airy with earthy, natural colours reflecting its Istanbul roots. Seeing as the sun was shining though, we took to the terrace outside, ordered two spicy Bloody Marys and perused the all-day dining menu.
Their approach is traditional Turkish cooking with a modern Istanbul inspired twist and on the menu you’ll find dishes such as Moussaka, Menemen (baked onion, tomato, thyme, peppers with chilli oil and bread), Sucuklu (fried eggs with spicy Turkish sausage), Prawn Brochette and Sumak Lamb Köfte. At weekends they serve breakfast 10am – 4pm, perfect for late risers and if you don’t want a whole meal you can drop in for coffee and cake.
We started with excellent Manti (ground lamb dumplings with yoghurt)- you must order it and a light mezze platter of hummus, ezme, vine leaf dolma, beans pilaki, baba ganush (which we adored) and falafel.
The Sumak Lamb Köfte (grilled lamb mince skewer, cracked pilau, rose harissa yoghurt, pomegranate) was perfectly cooked and light, which is exactly what you want when the sun has made an appearance and you can finally say goodbye to the winter comfort carbs you’ve been gorging on for so long. The rose harissa was neither too spicy or fragrant as we thought it might be and the Külbasti (thinly sliced lamb, sautéed potatoes, peppers, spinach) was demolished in minutes, a true sign of a great meal.
We finished with a slice of sticky, gooey walnut baklava, crisp and flaky on top and sweet and dense under the pastry – I was impressed by the size of portion, being so use to restaurants offering up a few tiny bite sized pieces and charging a small fortune.
It’s hard to find fault with the food at Kitchenette, normally there is something that can be changed – you know more bread here, larger portions there that sort of thing. At Kitchenette there was none of that. In fact the only thing which could have been improved was that despite asking several times for a jug of water they seemed to prefer to bring individual glasses of water – which on a day as hot as it was, seemed a hassle.
If that is the only improvement though, then Kitchenette is on to a winner.