Sömine, Somine or Şömine. It’s only recently I’ve been referring to “that 24 hour soup place” by name, and even now I’m probably not pronouncing the name correctly.
However you refer to it, Sömine is a treasure of Dalston. It provides excellent Turkish food at a great value at all hours of the day or night, offering a delicious option outside of the kebab shops in the area. There’s been a few times where I’ve emerged from some bar or venue in Dalston or Shoreditch and made my way to Sömine in order to fill my inebriated stomach with something other than alcohol, and it’s never disappointed. My most recent venture was post-Flashback Records night in Shoreditch’s Strongroom Bar, and I tucked into a wonderful cauliflower meal reminiscent of lasagne bathed in soupy broth, which provided wonderful fuel for the walk home.
However, I don’t always stumble into Sömine drunk and in search of something to steady me for the journey home (although this is an excellent reason). I have gone in during the daylight hours in search of some Turkish home cooking, or at least what I’m surmising it to be. There is always a vegetarian option at Sömine, and I’ve had an amazing array of different dishes, including a cheesy eggplant bake skewered with a peeled tomato and roasted pepper, to cabbage cooked and stuffed with rice bathed in a savoury sauce.
Coupled with thick Turkish bread that works as an edible sponge for the broth and a plate of palette-cleansing pickled vegetables and olives, these dishes are a lovely meal in humble, dineresque surroundings served quickly by the men behind the counter.
In my mind, if Edward Hopper’s iconic Nighthawks were reinterpreted in contemporary Hackney, the setting would not be in any quasi-American diner bathed in neon, but in Sömine, with a cast of East Londoners from all stripes at the tables. Although missing the “traditional” diner foods found in America, instead at Sömine we have an array of soups, stews and other foods served in bowls that can provide the same amount of comfort a stack of pancakes and a bowl of grits can.
For £6 you can enjoy some wonderfully fine food any time of the day or night. It’s a short walk from Dalston Kingsland Station and Rio Cinema, as well as being a short stagger from a number of popular bars and pubs in the area.