Press Reviews of our Restaurant

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  Daily Record - July 16th 2005

Daily Record Review of Hanedan Turkish Restaurant in Edinburgh

  Sunday Herald - 20 February 2005
Talking Turkey

Hanedan smells and looks good. It has a fantastic extraction system. (Believe me this comes to matter to any critic who doesn’t want to walk out smelling like a chip.) Decorative tiles and atmospheric wrought-iron lighting create that grand bazaar feeling, a memory of the domes and minarets of the Sultanahmet district in Istanbul.

The food is down-the-line Turkish with no deviations which I consider to be a good thing. My experience of food in Turkey is that it is usually delicious and very much home-made. A Turkish friend, Memhet, explained to me once that this is because older Turkish women do not mind spending labour-intensive hours stuffing pastry with marvellous fillings of their own making. Turkish mothers vie with Jewish ones when it comes to showing love by feeding their offspring.

The proprietor of Hanedan, Gursel Bahar, is male. He seems to do the cooking here and makes a charming and expansive host who obviously takes much pride in what he does. Starving as a result of our delayed start, we demolished a series of fresh meze. They featured a well-balanced hommus, soft creamy beans, a bit like small butter beans, slowly stewed in olive oil, minty stuffed vine leaves, a garlicky Ispanakli yoghurt with spinach and carrot, bouncy oven-baked lamb meat balls and herkes bayildi, translated as ‘everyone fainted’, a play on ‘imam bayildi’, meaning ‘the imam fainted’, the name of the celebrated slow-cooked dish of melting aubergine and onions, so named because it causes people to swoon with pleasure. And this one was a good example of its kind. I have only one criticism of the starters: they were served too cold which deadens the flavours. Items like imam bayildi are best at room temperature. But then, try explaining that to an environmental health officer when he arrives with his temperature probe.

Moussaka is one of the world’s great comfort dishes. Like great lasagne, it looks and sounds deceptively simple, but there is an art to making it. Once again, Hanedan came up trumps with its light but satisfying layers of finely minced, richly meaty, but not fatty, lamb cooked with just the right amount of almost dissolved tomato, supporting aubergine cooked to fondant softness, stabilised by potatoes, then topped with an ever-so-slightly cinnamon-scented egg-yolk enriched white sauce.The Turks, like the Greeks, are brilliant at cooking lamb and our cutlets were a glowing example. They had been well seasoned with dried herbs and, I think, sumac – a slightly sour-tasting red berry – and chargrilled very slowly while we ate the starters. The result was glorious, full-flavoured meat still amazingly pink and juicy within. These came with excellent buttery-flavoured rice, fresh chilli sauce and cacik (yoghurt with cucumber).

Desserts were tokenistic; a workaday baklava, chocolate cake or ice cream. The focus is obviously on savoury dishes. While that emphasis is understandable, the sweet offerings could be given an effortless facelift by adding those plump fresh Turkish figs (while in season), a fresh orange salad dressed with orange flower water or even that exquisite rosewater-perfumed light rice pudding.

But otherwise, so much is just right here, not least the prices. A slightly spritzy Turkish Villa Doluca wine at £10.50 was much more than drinkable. Starters don’t go above £3.80; the most expensive main course is £8.75. You can have two courses, albeit limited choice, for £7.95 yet the quality of ingredients is high. And what a relief to eat in a restaurant with a clear identity which has its feet firmly grounded in centuries of culinary tradition.

Bottlenose yum yum yum
41-42 West Preston Street phone 667 4242
(Last visit October 2004) A modern clean and bright Turkish restaurant serving up absolutely delicious and mostly charcoal-grilled meat dishes.


  Metro Review of Hanedan Turkish Restaurant in Edinburgh  


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