[quote]A very classy looking upmarket Turkish restaurant with good food but lacks the authentic Turkish feel. Due to the ambiance and feel, its perfect for couples.[/quote]
Having decided to meet up with an old friend for a good long overdue catch up, Mr Rahman, mentioned a Turkish restaurant that he frequently visited whilst working within the city. Reffered aptly to as Haz Friday, it was a location that he dined at every month on payday. Such was the build up that the expectations were bubbling up quite highly, the question was would it please or disappoint my eager taste buds?
After being seated, we were present with nibbles consisting of olives, cold bread and a yogurt based dip. We were of course fasting so could do nothing but eagerly wait (Due to hunger and fasting, the discussion for the entire journey on route was about food!). The waiter arrived with menus upon which I asked Mr Rahman to order on behalf of us both. This consisted of 3 starters and two mixed grills for the mains and two glasses of Coca Cola. I had already been advised that the mixed grill was smaller than normal eateries, a good move that lowered any misconception that I may have had. The waiter at this point had noted that we were both fasting and agreed to bring out the food a few minutes before we were due to break fast.
A few minutes before iftar time, our starters plus drinks had arrived! Perfect timing and ready to eat! Now before I start on the food, I should mention that as an avid fan of food, I have had the pleasure of eating at a wide range of turkish restaurants which creates an idea of what is expected within their cooking style.
Our starters consisted of feta cheese and spinach pastry, calamari and spicy sausages (Sucuk ). I went straight for the spicy sausage which was a good portion size, and tasted as expected, firm, tangy and juicy with a strong flavour. I had a feeling that this could be the pick of the bunch of starters. There wasn’t really any spice but its still tasted great. I moved onto the calamari, which was soft, fluffy and expertly cooked. You could tell this was done correctly as overcooked calamari produces a more rubbery texture to the squid. The parsley and hint of lemon juice made this a great soft dish that you could literally just sit there and consume. Finally, the feta cheese pastry, again soft to the bite, slightly creamy yet distinctly flavoured. It was all going really well 🙂
It was onto the mains, and this is admittedly where I feel that Haz let itself down a little. A traditional mixed grill from an authentic turkish eatery would consist of a combination of lamb / chicken shisha, adana/kofte, spare ribs, lamb chops and chicken wings. This was not the case here.. The plate consisted of 2 pieces of lamb shisha, 2 pieces of chicken shish and one piece of adana / kofte kebab served with rice and vegetables. Had Mr Rahman not notified me earlier of the smaller than usual size portion I would have been very disappointed indeed.
The adana / kofte tasted just ok, whilst you chew it, instead of releasing tantilising goodness and flavour, it produced a rather flat oily aftertaste… sadly it wasn’t the greatest but by no means the worst either. I moved onto the chicken, whilst slightly drier that it should be (this is likely to be because they were waiting for us to finish starters so perhaps left on a hot plate) had a very distinctive smokey taste that really gave it excellent flavour. You could almost taste the way it was cooked, on a great smokey charcoal barbecue pit, turkish style! Finally, the best part of the mains, the lamb shish, cooked to perfection! It was soft yet succulent, moist and tender just bursting with flavour! This was a winner and was a shame that only two pieces were provided. It was something that you just felt needed to be savoured as opposed to just devouring.
I should mention that the vegetables were cooked to perfection! Colourful, crisp and crunchy whilst still maintaining all of the natural flavours!
Overall I would say that this was a good experience, both the starters and mains were good, even if the mixed grill lacked a bit of variety. The overall ambiance and classy feel to the place would suggest that this place is more for couples and fine dining and for that I feel the bill of £45 was justified. If however you are looking for an authentic and traditional turkish style eating experience, I would avoid Haz.
On our next get together, it will be my recommendation and have I got a treat for Mr Rahman – Gokyuzu, one of the finest if not best Authentic Ottoman style turkish restaurant based in Green lanes, Harringey.
HAZ ST PAUL’S
34 Foster Lane, St Paul’s, London, EC2V 6HD
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Tel: 020 7600 4172 / 020 7600 4173
Fax: 020 7600 4174