At Peace With Change on Green Lanes
A Vittles Review: why Köfteci Metin is London's most exciting Turkish restaurant opening of the year. Words by Jonathan Nunn.
Good morning and welcome back to Vittles Restaurants!
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Today’s newsletter is the third edition of Vittles Reviews, a new column dedicated to critical reviews of London restaurants, written by Jonathan Nunn.
You can read the previous reviews below:
Extraordinary Ordinariness at Uncle Wrinkle
The Last Guardians of Beef Dripping Chips (please note, Molesey Fish Bar is now closed for holidays until 11th September)
At Peace With Change on Green Lanes, by Jonathan Nunn
Have you been to Green Lanes lately? It’s just like Green Lanes, except there’s more of it: more money, more refurbs, more expansion. An entire side of the street is threatening to become one big Antepliler the size of the ExCel Centre while the other is home to a Dusty Knuckle bakery that someone less kind than me might consider to be the first sign of gentrification (except that it’s actually just a very welcome place to get good filter coffee on a road dedicated to tea). ‘Gentrification’ isn’t the right word anyway – it’s more like yassification. Ten years ago the Turkish and Kurdish restaurants on this culinarily dense stretch of North London pavement used to all look like village lokantas; mosaics, rusticism and Once Upon A Time in Anatolia nostalgia were in. But Green Lanes isn’t changing because of newcomers, rather the old communities that abut it have new desires. Where they once looked to the past, they now look to the present of Turkey, Dubai influencers and Salt Bae’s Nusr-Et. You can trace a continuum of aspiration in fonts and shop fronts: once blocky with shades of earth and primary colours; now lower case, sans serif, with gold, silver and pastels. This is not unique to Green Lanes. Earlier this year I received a text from my friend Melek, faux-outraged, having just walked past the refurbished Dalston branch of Umut 2000. “Jonathan, it’s looking vajazzled!”
I was recently contemplating this strange process of replacing one kind of homogenisation with a more modern one while staring at the reproduction of Pablo Picasso’s Guernica that adorns almost an entire wall of Köfteci Metin, the most exciting restaurant to open on Green Lanes this year, and London’s first köfte specialist since Dalston’s much mourned Cızbız.