Although I’m a big fan of Turkish food, I don’t eat it as often as I would like. Despite passing through Victoria station daily on my commute, I must confess I haven’t really explored many eating establishments in the area. However, with Victoria station getting redeveloped at the moment and hot new venues such Kouzu opening, Belgravia and Pimlico are rising spots to watch on London’s culinary scene.
Located on Wilton Road, Kazan is a large double-fronted restaurant offering Ottoman cuisine. We were a table of seven ladies celebrating a friend’s birthday and were fortunate enough to be given a plush booth with silk cushions – a very enticing prospect which would be hard to leave. The interiors featured a mix of Turkish-influence and contemporary, leaving a modern and romantic atmosphere. One of our party was quite late and fortunately the staff were patient and obliging as we delayed ordering and occupied ourselves with the cocktail list. Usually I don’t associate Turkish restaurants with cocktails, however, Kazan has an extensive list of concoctions (including virgin cocktails) at reasonable prices. I ordered a Dusty Emerald (Belvedere vodka, apple juice, brown sugar and fresh lime, served with a light cinnamon dusting), which was refreshing and fruity and at £6.50 a good price.
A frequent problem I have when eating out is ordering too big starters, which often leave me too stuffed for dessert (a damn shame, as I love desserts!) so I was pleased to see Kazan offered various sharing platters. My friend was of similar mind so we split a Seafood Mezze Platter (£18.95), which included Smoked Salmon, Crispy Baby Calamari, Fish Kofte, Deep Fried Prawn, Baba Ganoush, Tabbouleh and Tarama. The ganoush, tabbouleh and tarama balanced out the dish so it wasn’t too fishy, with the cold salmon a nice contrast to the hot calamari and prawn.
The mains menu offered an appetising choice of grilled meats and fish dishes, but I was drawn to the vegetarian menu due to the Hellimi kebab – a Hellimi and mixed vegetable skewer, chargrilled served with bulgar (£12.95). The chefs had cooked the Halloumi cheese just right – not too chewy or salty and the chargrill really brought our the flavour. It was a perfect sized portion for me and I really enjoyed the whole dish. Despite having room, I opted for a Turkish apple tea to finish as I was continuing the evening in a bar and didn’t want to feel stuffed.
Overall, our party really enjoyed the evening. Our booth was incredibly comfortable and gave us a good view of the restaurant. I really liked the mix of modern and Turkish influence to the interiors. The food was delicious, the drinks were lovely and the bill came to a reasonable price. I’ll definitely be back again.
- Kazan, 93-94 Wilton Road, Victoria, SW1V 1DW. Nearest station: Victoria. For more information and booking, visit the Kazan website.
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I’ve always enjoyed Lebanese and Turkish food, so when a friend booked a table at restaurant serving a fusion of both, I was looking forward to it. A group of six of us dined at Adiva, located just a short walk from Old Spitalfields Market, on a Saturday night to celebrate a friend’s birthday. The table was booked through TopTable so there was a special £14.95 set menu (two courses) to choose from, however we were able to order off the a la carte menu if we preferred.
Adiva is located on Commercial Street in the Spitalfields/Aldgate East area of the city. Although it looked like a regular restaurant from outside, once you step inside you are transported to the Middle East with warm red and yellow interiors, Moorish designs and glass and wrought iron lamps. My friends and I all arrived with our own bottles of wine as the venue was BYOB, with just a £1.50 corkage fee.
Presented with our set menus, our helpful and attentive waiter was able to answer any questions we had about the dishes and offered his recommendations for those among us who were unsure of what to choose. I opted for the Vegetarian Mixed Mezze Starter – which consisted of Hommous, Lentil Kofte, Taboulleh, Falafel, Dolma (stuffed vine leaves), Sambousek Jabneh Sabanegh and warm pitta bread. Although quite large, the starter was light and delicious. I easily could have ordered a second serving it was so moreish. For my main, I went for the Samkeh Harra – pan-cooked fillet of Sea Bass with potato and leek mash with sautéed vegetables. The sea bass was cooked to perfection and melted in my mouth and the mash (one of my favourite foods) was creamy and full of flavour. I quite liked the vegetables, although some of them were slightly undercooked and a bit crunchy – I would have preferred them a bit softer. Regarding some meat options, one of my friends ordered the Lamb Shawarma (pan-roasted slices of lamb in Shawarma spice and onions) and said it was incredibly tasty.
Aside from the food and setting, Adiva has the added asset of entertainment by a belly dancer. The talented and friendly dancer moved around the restaurant so everyone got a chance to see her in action and she really livened up the evening. As expected, she managed to convince a few diners to leap out of their seats and show off their moves, which brought a camaraderie between our table and our fellow diners. Due to the BYOB alcohol policy, when it came to receiving our bill, we couldn’t believe how affordable it was. Overall, the food was delicious, the setting was comfortable and attractive and the service was good. With the added appeal of BYOB, it results in a very good value meal out.
- 43A Commercial Street, E1 6BD. Nearest tube/Overland: Liverpool Street or Shoreditch High Street. For more information and booking, check out the Adiva restaurant website.
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