A delightfully Bold update on the traditions of Turkish cuisine
15 March, 2019 — By Dan Carrier
The food at Bold brings a modern twist to Turkish staples
THE rise of great Turkish food in London has been well documented: just travel up Green Lanes on a Saturday night and see how well the packed restaurants are doing.
And now, in Dartmouth Park, a new café is bringing a more contemporary feel to traditional Turkish food. Bold, in York Rise, is run by Nihan and Ibo Aksu.
They took over the former Village Cafe last year and after a comprehensive re-fit and a sprinkle of love in the kitchen, York Rise – which already enjoys the long-standing Truffles Deli and the newly revamped Dartmouth Arms – has another quality place to hang out.
Nihan had worked as a chef in Istanbul, graduating from the renowned culinary arts school MSA. It was while at university she met Ibo – and the pair have brought all the experience they garnered into Bold.
The menu is a delight: a personal favourite is the Menem, which is a little like a shakshuka – a lightly spiced tomato sauce with poached eggs, served with a doorstep chunk of fresh bread and a cup of strong Turkish tea.
While the café offers the usual array of excellent coffees, it is the tea has shown the caffeine heads who frequent the place after the school run there is a calmer way to start the day.
Ibo and Nihan Aksu
The food brings a modern twist to Turkish staples. They recognise that many of London’s top Turkish restaurants are run by an older generation. Bold represents a modern cuisine, with tradition married to new ideas.
“London has lots of traditional Turkish food, made by people who are our parents’ age,” says Ibo. “My generation is really European and that is reflected in what we cook. We mix things up.”
There are breakfasts that draw on Anglo-Turkish themes – as well as the staple pancakes, porridge, poached eggs and the like there is the Sucuklu Yumurta, which is eggs, sunny side up with spicy garlic sausages and sourdough toast.
For lunches and dinners, the range of grills will keep you happy for many a meal, while the Bold Bowl salad – falafel, green leaves, avocado, seeds, quinoa, roasted beetroot, hummus, the house pickled red onions, tomato, cucumber and dark rye bread – is exceptional. Above all, the menu reflects Nihan’s wide interests, experiences and curiosity.
Nihan worked in hotels and restaurants in Istanbul before setting up a catering firm Bite and Joy, with a friend: it gained nationwide acclaim in Turkey. Brother-in-law Besir, who is a partner in Bold, is one of Istanbul’s most successful restaurateurs, owning 12 diners in the city.
The couple have poured everything into creating a warm and friendly place and Bold feels like the family-run business it is: full of bustle and chatter, care and attention, and above all, a couple who you can’t help but want to make a success of things. They love their café, and it shows.
Bold Café and Restaurant
20 York Rise
Highgate, NW5 1ST
020 7267 4343