There’s quite a lot to love about Rüya, the new Anatolian restaurant from Dubai which has just opened in Mayfair stalwart, the Grosvenor House Hotel…
Let’s start with the breezy-warmth of the striking interiors. The capacious layout certainly makes a favourable first impression as we’re led past the inviting bar preceding the open kitchen, to our roomy table towards the back.
Brass highlights are a-plenty, their contemporary appeal offset by more antiquated details paying homage to Turkish history. The elegant simplicity of the symmetrical tiles adorning the walls adds an inviting touch to the otherwise glitzy surrounds!
If you’re wondering about what Anatolian cuisine encompasses, it draws on inspirations from a rather wide region – stretching from the Mediterranean to the Black Sea. At Rüya, this all manifests in an elevated dining experience helmed by chef Colin Clague (he previously worked at Jean Georges and Rüya Dubai).
Rather helpfully, there’s a selection of dishes apt for grazing as you ponder over the broader set of options. Of these, Isli Patlican is a revelatory delight – devilishly deep-fried aubergine chips meant for dunking into an aubergine purée, its smooth texture tinged with a surprisingly nutty texture.
Muhammara is another hit. The roasted red pepper dip is searingly sharp, served with a crusty sourdough bread that makes a compelling case for carbs – as do all the breads actually, freshly-baked in the oven right by our table. This includes a rather lascivious two-cheese pide. Crisp-edged and folded into a boat-shaped tart, the Turkish twist to pizza is pertly topped off with an egg yolk which is ceremoniousy broken over the heavy layers of cheese, dialling up the decadence by a few naughty notches!
One could continue with Middle Eastern classics (such as kebaps) or a selection from the oven/ grill. On this occasion, mother and I find much to delight in a dedicated vegetarian menu. Güveç proves a virtuous yet no-less-gratifying choice – a clay pot of baby root vegetables drowning in a tomato and red pepper sauce. It would be criminal not to sop up the vibrantly-rich gravy, so we order a sesame-studded bagel on the side, to help us with the task!
Of course, we’ve never been known to say no to dessert before; and we’re certainly not about to start now when there’s a dark chocolate and salted caramel kibbeh in the offing.
It proves to be just as divine as it looks, arriving shrouded by a delicate nest of chocolate swirls which breaks apart to reveal a dark chocolate sorbet offset with Turkish coffee cream. The dark chocolate “kibbeh” on top is not unlike an intensely rich chocolate egg, cocooning a molten lava of salted caramel within! Also unmissable, is the Anatolian rice pudding – a traditional Turkish delicacy which is layered with raspberries, rose ice-cream & lokum.
Speaking of Lokum, the eponymous cocktail takes the edge of a hot summer’s afternoon with its luscious blend of vodka, pomegranate, rose and champagne foam.
In fact, I’m calling that the bar by the entrance will worthily prove a destination in its own right, not least for the intriguing cocktails deftly concocted with the aid of an in-house distiller. Do be sure to try the Trojan War, an intriguing combination of Johnny Walker Black and Vida Mezcal laced with passion fruit and pink peppercorn, while lemon, ginger and cinnamon-dusted ice cubes lend a distinctly spicy touch!
Coming back to what I did say at the very start, there’s really a lot to love about this buzzworthy new restaurant, which manages to set itself apart from the relentless of new openings, with effortless style and epicurean panache!
30 Upper Grosvenor St, Mayfair, London W1K 7PH | http://ruyalondon.com