Diyarbakir: The Best Damn Turkish in Town

Green Lanes in North London is to Turkish food what Kingsland Road in Hoxton is to Vietnamese – an endless string of restaurants with very little discernable difference between them. But hunt and you shall find a diamond in the rough. This diamond is Diyarbakir, my favorite Turkish place in London, and not only because it’s 3 feet from my front door.

It’s my favourite because of the warm complimentary bread and cacik (a yogurt dip mixed with mint and cucumber) that are brought to your table swiftly. Often times I have to repeatedly slap my own hand away for fear of overconsumption before even ordering. It’s my favourite because anything that comes off their charcoal grill is particularly scrumptious, especially the adana kebab (minced lamb with spices) and the chicken shish kebab (cubed marinated chicken). And because the salad that comes with it is so fresh and clean, doused in lemon, pomegranate syrup and olive oil.

It’s number one in my book because everything is so simple, yet so flavourful and I don’t feel dirty after eating it, I actually feel healthy. Plus £5 for a take-away dinner that leaves me stuff to the brim? Yes, Diyarbakir, yes.

A Moment with the Cut Out Girls

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Libby Chilton and Carla Bromhead are knitters. Sure, they have fancy B.F.A.s from Newcastle University but now they knit day in and day out. But not scarves or sweaters or cute little bobble hats, they knit bags – out of rope and twine, and are also adding canvas to their line-up. They are the Cut Out Girls (a moniker stemming from their uni days), their flat is their studio and knitting is their current raison d’etre.

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I caught up with the girls at their latest outing at Backyard Market on Brick Lane to see why they do what they do and where they are going.

DW: You both have fine arts degrees, whereas your ethos for Cut Out Girls is much more craftsy – how did it begin?

LC: From doing really tedious – not meaningless jobs because they’re not – they’re just a good kick up the ass to make you realize you want to do more. It was just a hobby really, wasn’t it?

CB: It’s taken awhile since then to evolve to knitting bags, I think we both started off with this amazing energy and urge just to make. So we were making everything – knitting cup warmers, canvas bags, wooden rings – it was everything and anything.

DW: It started off as a hobby, did you ever think it would turn into a business?

CB: The novelty has worn off. It could have stayed as a hobby just because we flippin’ enjoy it, but because we like it so much we want it to stay viable. But you know when people say ‘let’s do this’ and half the time they don’t do it, it is amazing that we have done it. The novelty is gone, but now we are like ‘how much do we want this, and how can we make it happen.’ It’s already been a year of love.

DW:Right now you are selling at Backyard Market on Brick Lane and have an online webshop – where do you see the future of Cut Out Girls?

LC: The market has been great, market research and everything. But we need to make sure we are addressing the right audience, that we are making bespoke pieces, that people appreciate them as handmade. We want to keep selling there but also expand our online presence. We have a facebook page and a tumblr and are creating a new website.

CB: It is all we are. It’s quite sad. All our energies and references go into it.

LC: Yeah, I’m so happy for it, I really want it to work and for it to become something more than what it is now. I want it to keep growing.  05620014