The team behind Yosma had a clear set of objectives for their new Baker Street restaurant – create a fresh new take on the Turkish dining experience that’s both influenced by traditional Istanbul ‘Meyhanes’ (or tavernas), where locals drink Raki and eat a variety of meze dishes, but still feels very London, urban and a break from all the usual stereotypes typical of Turkish restaurants in the West.
Acting as lead creative agency, we conducted extensive research, identifying and avoiding all the typical tropes of Leventive culture and instead picking up on the more subtle cultural references of urban Istanbul. Being careful not to incorporate anything contrived or pastiche, we drew inspiration from the 150 year history of the Meyhanes and Raki Houses – understated classic materials, colour palettes and social, vibrant ambience – and
juxtaposed it with a contrasting dose of contemporary, raw London style. We placed a prominent theatre kitchen at the restaurant’s heart, showcasing Hus Vedat’s cooking, and keeping customers close to the action. The main dining area is inspired by the simple, carefully detailed layouts of classic heritage dining halls, and a dedicated bar area for pre or post dinner drinks and lighter bites features subtle lighting and a more up tempo soundtrack. A grid of repetitive pendant lights unifies the large space, creating rhythm and visibility from the street outside. Imported, original Turkish materials were used throughout, from kitchen tiles and raki serving glassware, to bespoke terrazzo flooring and arched timber screens, creating separate, intimate zones. Walls clad in a mixture of original Victorian glazed tiles and raw rough rendering contrast with the glossy wallpaper lined ceiling. Shelves above the diners are adorned with antique raki bottles and specially commissioned illustrations by East London artist Neil Fox, depicting the fictional story of the Beatniks drunken night out in Istanbul. The racing green tiled restrooms also feature the vibrant background sounds of old Turkish movie soundtracks.