As many of you who read this blog know, I work in Victoria and complain about the standard of food available on a far too regular basis. There is only so many times a man can go to Nando's without getting sick of it (although some of my workmates will surely disagree). There is a nice Italian deli not too far away but we workers of Victoria are bereft of the delights that areas such as Fitzrovia and Soho have to offer.
After my last rant, a colleague recommended I try out Kazan, a local Turkish restaurant. He said it was good, but I needed serious convincing. Could this be what I was looking for?
Accompanying me on this trip was @shalmaneser. The poor geezer has had to deal with a screaming 8 week old as well as a monstrous workload and owing to good timing as opposed to good planning, we were both free to try it out
I walked in and was quite stunned. "This place looks pretty nice" I thought and it was pretty full by half seven on a balmy Summers evening. A good start. We sat down, menus at hand and assessed the options. I wanted meat and lots of it after I was unable to attend a tweat up at the Hawksmoor owing to the fact that Victoria is located in the arse end of nowhere. Kazan had a very appealing mixed grill but in the end we settled on a selection of mezze.
Lubricated by wine, we were brought some really top notch bread. Warm, crisp on the outside and soft on the inside, it had a foccacia like consistency and was as potent as crack (I'm assuming). I had to force myself to stop devouring the bread along with the olives and oil that accompanied it so not to ruin my appetite (an all too familiar story).
Next up, cold mixed mezze:
Cacik (TL) - Basically yoghurt and cucumber. We asked for garlic, we didn't get garlic, but nice all the same
Patlican Stew (TR) - Stewed aubergines. A bit greasy but full of flavour. Nice.
Tabouleh (M) - If you have never had this before, its a salad made with all sorts of great stuff. The parsley kept it fresh, the lemon added that touch of zinginess and the bulgar wheat added an interesting contrast in texture. I really liked the addition of pomegranate seeds, popping and releasing their sweet juices, mingling with the rest of the flavours. Really liked this.
To follow, some hot mezze.
Courgette and cheese fritters served with a Turkish "salsa". Merely ok. I was pretty put off by its really rather gloopy texture. I was expecting something with a little more bite, along the lines of halloumi but what I got was a lot more runny. The salsa was interesting, if a little bland, with only the added surprise of a few hazelnuts disrupting the rather dull consistency and texture.
Advertised as Turkish garlic sausage cooked on the char grill, its arrival triggered a few observations. Firstly, it looked like it had licked the char grill at best. Secondly, it didn't taste of garlic. And thirdly, this was one measly portion of sausage. Criticisms aside, it was actually quite tasty, and after all those veggie dishes, was a welcome addition to my belly.
Meat, round 2. Or so I thought. These were essentially meant to be lamb samosas of sorts but what we got were filo parcels filled with the most parsimonious serving of lamb I have ever seen. Microscopes would have struggled. Tasted really nice, so why so little filling? Make me happy goddamn it!
Cop Chicken Shish
I was really hoping for something to light up my taste buds but the chicken was insipid and bland. It looked the business, but it all counts for nothing if the flavour is non-existent.
I know I may seem to have been highly critical about a few things, but I had high hopes and was anticipating big things, more hopeful than expectant really. Although hit and miss, most of the food was enjoyable and on the whole, full of interesting and contrasting flavours and textures. What I can complain about, however, is how stingy this place is. I wouldn't mind so much if it was cheaper, but at a fiver a plate for the cold mezze and £6 a plate for the hot, some of the plates were a blatant rip off (£6 for a sliced sausage anyone?).
For a Tuesday night, this place was pretty packed and you could certainly do a lot worse. It may not be fantastic, but it certainly is the best of a bad bunch. I certainly want to come back and satisfy my meat craving at the hand of the "Kazan Fire Grill". To be continued....
Kazan Victoria (website), 93-94 Wilton Road, SW1V 1DW