I have to confess that I spent a total of 45 minutes at Kazan, a delightful Turkish restaurant in Victoria, and I only ordered one dish. The problem was that I was going to see Wicked with my friend Tans and so we had to be at the theatre (which is just down the road) at 7.30 but I didn’t escape work to get to Kazan until just after 6.30. However, following the lead of the Irish food critic Trevor White who believes it is possible to review a restaurant within seven seconds, these are my thoughts on Kazan.
It has to be said that the first seven seconds were pretty good, the restaurant was darkly lit with black lacquered tables and moody lighting. A lovely waiter took my coat and directed me over to where Tans was impatiently waiting for me sipping on an Efes the very decent Turkish beer. The menu is one of those menus where you want to order just about everything off it. The menu is based on Ottoman food which means that the focus is on more complex Turkish food rather than rustic dishes. Given our time limitations we decided to order the mezze starter for two so that we could sample a range of what was on offer at Kazan.
The platter that arrived at our table was huge and had a selection of hot and cold mezzes. Two large felafels were light and fluffy although unfortunately the grilled Hillimi was luke warm and didn’t quite live up to the expectations that were created when we spotted fried cheese. We had no complaints about the Borek, little puffed triangles of pastry filled with a mix of feta cheese, spinach and herbs. These hot little treats were accompanied by a trio of dips: some earthy homemade Humus sprinkled with small pieces of lamb and pine nuts, the moreish yoghurt and spinach dip Manca and vivid red Iman Bayildi. Iman Bayildi literally means “the Iman fainted”, as the legend goes a certain Iman after observing a holy day of fasting was so taken with the delicious aroma of the this tomato and eggplant dip that he fainted dead away.
Finally there were the salads, Manca Kisir, a tomato and herb salad dotted with nuts and bulgur and Tabouleh. Kazan’s Tabouleh has to be the best Tabouleh I have ever tasted. All too often Tabouleh is a sad tale of stale parsley however the parsley used here had a morning freshness to it and in a move which can only be described as pure genius the Tabouleh was dotted with succulent little pomengrate seeds.
The fantastic mezze left me wanting more of Kazan but because of our pressing appointment with the wicked witch of the west we had to dash out the door. However, not before snaffling a couple of the small clouds of Turkish Delight that were brought with our bill. Indeed, it was probably the last seven seconds of Turkish Delight induced pleasure that impressed me the most about Kazan.
Details: 93-94 Wilton Road, Victoria SW1V 1DW (Ph 020 7233 7100)
You may also be interested in: Alan Yau’s Japanese restaurant, Sake No Hana, which is not too far away from Kazan.