We may all be sun-starved this summer, but there’s a perfectly good taste of the Mediterranean to be found at Lokkum restaurant in South Woodford
Turkey has always been high on my go to places for a summer holiday. I love everything about it: the constant sun, the friendly people, and the fabulous fresh food. I may not be able to get a guarantee of Vitamin D visiting Lokkum, but the rest of the list can be comfortably ticked off.
Lokkum has been open in South Woodford for just over four years now and since day one have offered something a little different. The building itself stands out, literally, on its own plot, with the restaurant’s name emblazoned on the sides. Inside, the décor is modern, from the contemporary chandeliers to the furnishings. “We want to be stylish and luxurious,” says the restaurant’s Summer Ryan, who is here to greet me. “We want this to be a place to celebrate a special occasion. It’s modern and relaxed, but also perfect for families too.”
A first glance at the menu and you will feel it covers off all the Turkish classics, but you need to delve a little deeper. “We provide high quality food following original recipes handed down from our ancestors in Turkey,” Ryan explains. It feels like an experience, especially with the chefs in full view of a watching audience. “It adds excitement,” Ryan says of the kitchen’s central location. “It is also transparent, giving customers a real insight into how their meals are prepared and to see the chefs first hand.”
The food here is terrific. A lot of it is grill-based – “This is an authentic way of cooking from our home country,” Ryan explains – and their choice of steaks is certainly a tough one to whittle down, so the mixed grill is a good option. The beef lokkum is an intriguing one, apparently a real celebrity favourite, succulent steak fillet pieces served up with crispy chips and steamed wild broccoli. I always loved eating fish by the coast in Turkey, and at Lokkum they don’t shirk on the seafood on offer – the monkfish is certainly one to try. Presentation throughout is exemplary, as if those chefs are delighted to be putting on a show.
It’s only been a month or so since we have been allowed back inside our local restaurants, and it’s clearly been a long time coming for Ryan and her team. “It’s been incredibly tough,” she says on the past year, “but that’s just like many other businesses during this global pandemic. It feels like we have bounced back well. There’s been a great response from the community, and it’s been good to see many returning happy customers.”
Summer holidays remain a conscientious subject, but it helps when you have something like Lokkum right on our doorstep. And the name? “It means Turkish delight,” Ryan says. Never has something been more apt.