Forget late night kebabs and post-pub snacks, Colin Drury finds Lokanta in Broomhill shows Turkish food at its best
Probably my favourite Mark E Smith/food anecdote (everyone has one, no?) is that told by DJ Stuart Maconie.
After a night on the tiles, the legendary front man of The Fall invites the Radio 2 presenter back to his gaff, promising to knock up a post-drinking feast.
There, Maconie is told to put his feet up in the lounge, while Smith spends an hour banging pots, boiling kettles and slamming cupboards in the kitchen. Eventually he comes out with two plates. Maconie looks at them. Each has a crisp sandwich on.
“Get your chops round that,” winks Smith. “Salt and vinegar.”
That’s my favourite anecdote. My second favourite is where Smith, during another prodigious drink, promises a young hack a slap up meal at “Manchester’s best Turkish restaurant”.
After walking the back streets the pair finally round a corner to see a late-night take-away.
“Here we are,” announces Smith. “Doner kebab and chips, alright?”
How true these are is debatable.
But here’s the significance: when Sheffielder Ruth Gunay and her Turkish husband Faruk first moved to the city as a couple after spending six years running a beach bar in Kemer, that’s sort of how they felt. Apart from Zeugma, in London Road, Turkish restaurants meant post-pub kebabs under strip lights.
So, in 2009, after finding a unit in Broomhill, they opened their own. Lokanta - which will celebrate five years in November - was the result. And what a result.
Let’s start with the free bread. It’s magnificent; warm and smokey and served with a tomato salsa that’s worth a visit alone.
It’s served as you’re still taking the place in. It’s minimalist - kitchen one end, window the other, and, apart from tables and chairs, not much in between. There’s an overhaul impression of pale-ness, somehow at odds with the friendliness of the staff.
We went for the meze option - essentially a Turkish tapas where small plates of food are brought to your table as they’re cooked.
Let’s overlook the carrot fritters - which are so potently minty it’s like eating toothpaste - and concentrate on how wonderful the rest is.
Minced beef parcels are sprightly and spicy, and brought kicking to life by a mint yogurt side. Lamb meatballs are bite-sized orbs, richly red and delicately onion-ised. The fillet of sea bass is fresh and fleshy and sweet. And lamb shish kebabs taste as healthy as any kebab you’ll ever have.
Ice cream doesn’t come cheap at £3.50 a scoop but since it’s Yee Kwan - Turkish style but Made In Sheffield - and since it’s so quenching, one can forgive that.
Conclusion? Mark E Smith would probably prefer spending his time in the Broomhill Tavern next door but Lokanta is special.
* £46 with two red wines.
Address: 480 Glossop Road, Broomhill, S10 2QA,
Contact: 0114 266 6444.
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