When it opened five years ago, Rüya offered Londoners a new and enticing concept that today fuses a vibrant restaurant, bar and lounge experience together as you explore the extremely rich history and diversity of Anatolian food that draws its inspiration from a number of rich culinary traditions.
Rüya was inspired by second generation restaurateur Umut Özkanca’s Istanbul heritage and offers Londoners a range of sophisticated, contemporary dishes from the various Anatolian regions that stretch from the Mediterranean to the Black Sea.
The restaurant’s interior was designed by internationally renowned Conran & Partners and has capacity for 110 covers. It accommodates a variety of dining experiences that includes a chef’s table area adjacent to the open kitchen which is decorated with contemporary custom-designed Turkish tiling. Then there is a more formal dining area and private dining room (Ozel Room) that can seat up to 18 people, at the far end of the restaurant, as well as the lively Mekan Bar area.
The bar menu is designed to take you through a journey of flavours from all the regions of the Anatolian Peninsula and includes a range of signature cocktails such as the ‘Black Sea’ made with Rye whiskey, Cognac and Vermouth. There is also a large selection of Raki, the ultimate grape distillation that is the famed anise-scented national spirit of Turkey.
The varied wine list includes labels not only from Turkey but also Italy, France, Spain, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Lebanon, Chile and the USA. However, you really should explore their extensive Turkish regional wines from Central Anatolia, the Eagean Sea and Thrace Marmara. They do offer a good selection by the glass as well as by the bottle, which I always like to see, and we had a fabulous 2020 Mercurey 1er Cru “Clos des Myglands”, Faiveley from France that paired extremely well with our meal.
There are a variety of menus to cater for just about everyone, including a vegan, vegetarian and gluten free menu as well as their à la carte, which offers a range of contemporary Anatolian small plates or meze as well as larger plates, with one particular highlight for us being the absolutely delicious 24 hour slow cooked short rib with a Turkish chili BBQ glaze and spiced Konya chickpea puree.
I would recommend sharing a selection of hot and cold meze to begin with, as it will give you the chance to try a variety of dishes, such as the İsli Patlican, which is an aubergine and walnut puree crispy coated aubergine chips and the Antep Fıstıklı Rafık, which is feta cheese, goat curd, pistachios and some tasty sourdough bread. We also loved the delicious İcli Köfte, which are lamb and bulgur wheat dumplings with walnut butter and yoghurt. If you like beef tartare, then you should definitely try the Ciğ Köfte with bulgur and baby gem lettuce or perhaps the Fırınlanmış Kemik İligi, which is roasted bone marrow with slow cooked beef and hummus.
I would recommend choosing something from their bread oven, such as the Semsek Pide, which is spinach, Ezine white cheese and herbs, or just have one of their freshly made house breads, which are superb.
The larger plates on the menu will satisfy those of you with a big appetite and partial to some meat, as they have a Rib-Eye Steak, Lamb Cutlets and Lamb Shank or the 24 hours slow cooked short rib that we had.
Do leave some room for a dessert though, as they are well worth dipping your spoon into, and for me the highlight was the Künefe, which is a baked Kadayif pastry with melted Majdule cheese, covered with a rose orange blossom syrup and some pistachio ice cream on the side. And although my guest had the Çikolata ve Türk Kahvesi, which is a beautifully presented variety of dark, milk and white chocolate with Turkish coffee ice cream and ganache, we agreed that the clear winner was the Künefe.
The warmly lit ambience and attentive staff offer something a little bit different for a sophisticated London audience and is perfect for either a date night or get together with friends or work colleagues. There is something for everyone at Rüya in its great central location.
Rüya London, 30 Upper Grosvenor Street, London, W1K 7PH, England.
Tel: +44 (0)20 3848 6710
Located off Park Lane in the JW Marriott Grosvenor House with its own separate entrance on Upper Grosvenor Street. The closest Tube station is Marble Arch on the Central Line. The restaurant is open Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday for dinner from 5:30pm to 9:30pm. Thursday, Friday and Saturday for lunch from 12:30pm to 3:00pm; Sunday from 1:00pm to 3:00pm. Dinner on Friday and Saturday from 5:30pm to 10:00pm and Sunday from 5:30pm to 9:00pm.
Type of Restaurant: Contemporary Anatolian Restaurant
Price Range: High
Insider Tip: Do have one of the speciality homemade breads from their bread oven.
Reviewer’s Rating: 9/10
Simon Burrell is Editor of Our Man On The Ground, a former member of The British Guild of Travel Writers and professional photographer.
Photographs courtesy of Rüya London