Ruya hands down has been one of the most authentic and scenic restaurants I have been to recently in London. The struggle ‘fancy’ restaurants face is that they either miss out on the atmosphere or food – it is very hard to usually find a balance and a location that ticks all boxes. I was pleasantly surprised during my experience at Ruya when not only the food but the service and atmosphere ticked all boxes.
I had the pleasure to meet the Executive Chef, Colin Clague and learn about his experiences and what inspired the menu behind Ruya. His vast experiences of traveling across the world, working in Dubai and understanding what the market is looking for has resulted in a very successful product in London. Colin splits his time between Dubai and London which allows him to spend time on product development and be present at both locations. I cannot stress enough how well versed the waiters were when it came to the details behind the dishes being served. This is a reflection on how passionate the management team is in relaying information and knowledge to the team facing customers.
Where did you start your journey?
I have worked with Zuma, Caprice Holdings and Jean Georges most recently before opening Ruya in Dubai followed by Ruya in London. I was looking for a new challenge. This gave me the opportunity to travel and spend time in Turkey and learn in depth about their culture and cuisine. There are a variety of cuisines across Turkey and this was something we wanted to bring to the forefront of Ruya.
What inspires the dishes at Ruya?
Ruya is all about giving an authentic Turkish experience with a modern twist. We aren’t about fusion cuisine.
When I worked on the menu it was very important that every item had a link back to the origins of the cuisine and story behind it. I spent time traveling across Turkey for inspiration. Ruya as a restaurant is deeply ingrained in storytelling. Some of these dishes are 2,000 years old. Anatolia is the region in Turkey where the dishes come from and is what we wanted to promote. There is so much variety across Turkey and its regions which is yet unknown to the UK market.
What is your advice to a first-time visitor to Ruya? What should they try?
We have specialist chefs in the house starting with the bread to the kebabs. I would definitely try a selection from our bread oven, the kebabs and our kunefe (dessert) is extremely popular.