“ Address: 41 West Preston Street / Edinburgh EH8 9PY „
== The Road To Hanedan ==
A few weeks ago, my boyfriend and I were faced with the rather sad prospect of not seeing each other for a couple of weeks. We were both going to spend Christmas with our respective families and I wouldn't be returning until just after New Year, and so we wouldn't both be back in Edinburgh for just over two weeks. We therefore decided to go out for a nice meal somewhere the Saturday night before I left (the 17th of December) but stupidly didn't get around to booking anything until the day itself, so everywhere we had in mind was either ridiculously busy or full. I had the idea of seeing if they could fit us in at Hanedan Turkish restaurant, as I had been there a few months previously with a friend and had a great time. It's a small restaurant but I thought that it not being in the middle of town would mean that it wasn't quite as busy as other places would be the weekend before Christmas. We called and were told that although we were busy, we should turn up at about nine o'clock and they would 'see what they could do.
Arrive at about nine we did, after having stopped off at several pubs on the way, and were told that there would be a table ready for us in a short while, after the couple sitting there had finished their coffees and paid. We were advised to go and wait in the pub over the road from the restaurant and that the manager would personally come and get us when our table was ready. As we'd anticipated not being able to get a table straight away and as I'd had a late lunch, we were quite happy with this and so popped over to the pub (whose name I don't remember). After about half an hour the manager came over to apologise that the people at our table-to-be were still there and that he would come and get us when they had left. We being amiable people were not bothered by this at all and so happily had another round or three until he came to get us at around 10 o'clock. We were then brought to a nice little table next to the window.
== Hanedan ==
Hanedan is a rather small Turkish restaurant located close to the Meadows and South Clerk Street in Edinburgh. It probably only sits around 25 people so it has a lovely vibe that you can only get in a small restaurant, and as such is usually completely full. It is open for lunch and dinner (5.30pm until late) every day except Monday.
As Hanedan is a Turkish restaurant, it unsurprisingly serves Turkish cuisine. Apart from kebabs, the only other place that I've had Turkish food is in a Turkish restaurant in Newcastle and so I can't claim to be an expert on Turkey's food. On perusing the menu, however, there are many foods that I recognise, such as hummus and kofte, which I have had in restaurants serving the cuisine of neighbouring countries. The main courses are mainly meat based, although they do one daily fish and a couple of vegetarian dishes for those that want. I would say, though, that I would really recommend this restaurant to those who love their meat, as this is where they thrive, and imagine it would be somewhat of a shame to go as a vegetarian.
== What We Had ==
After looking at the meze (starters), arranged by cold and hot dishes, we decided to go for the 'lalezar' mixed meze starter, which is available for a minimum of two people. This included humuz (or humous or hummus as it is often spelt here), ispanakli yoghurt (yoghurt with spinach), herkes bayaldi (roast aubergine, onion, tomato sauce and herbs), piyaz (cannellini beans, red onion and olive oil) and firin kofte (meat balls in a tomato sauce). Since so many of the meze looked good we decided that a mixture of a few would be a great idea, especially as it included the humuz, which is one of my very favourite foods and I would have found it difficult to go past that. I was also very tempted by the Kalamar (squid, walnut and crispy salad) and squid is one of my other very favourite foods, but with some slight regret, decided that I'd probably enjoy the 'lalezar' more.
From the time when I came with my friend, I remembered the meat at Hanedan being exceptionally gorgeous, so disregarded the fish and vegetable dishes entirely. As I believe I did the last time, I went for 'Karishik Izgara', which was a mixed grill of chicken, lamb and garlic sausage. My boyfriend was tempted to go for this as well but thought he'd have a bit of mine, and instead went for the 'Kuzu Pirzola' lamb cutlets. Other mains included more firin kofte meatballs, moussaka, lamb or chicken shish and a few other things.
We didn't go for desserts as we were too full, but had two peppermint Turkish liqueurs after our meal was finished. We also (of course) had a bottle (or was it two?) of red wine, opting for the Turkish wine based on the 'when in Rome' philosophy.
== The Food, Oh The Food ==
My god - both courses were absolutely gorgeous. Our lalezar was a very good size, with each of the five meze coming in a smallish bowl along with a bowl filled with pitta bread. The humuz was sublime and impressed me exceptionally, and for what is described simply as 'yoghurt with spinach', the ispanakli yoghurt was bowl-lickingly good. The herkes bayaldi was also exceptional and the aubergine was cooked perfectly, and the whole dish had a gorgeous flavour. All three of these went exceptionally well with the pitta bread and I ate quite a lot of bread with these. When we finished the bread we were brought another bowl of it without even having to ask, which I thought was pretty great service. The meatballs were also very nice and the cannellini bean dish was nice but was outshone by the other dishes, and so we didn't quite finish it in order to leave room for our mains.
Of course, after those starters and all that bread I was already feeling rather full, but the memory of how nice the meat had been last time was enough to keep me able to go on. We had a short but not too short wait between meze and mains and were ready for the rest of the food when it came. Each of the mains comes served with rice and some chilli sauce and so our plates were fairly filled with food. There was a lot of meat - I can't remember exactly how much of each meat I had now but remember being impressed by how much we got. That isn't to say, however, that there was so much food to be overfacing - it was just right.
And oh, dear god, was it gorgeous. The meat was perfectly cooked and seemed to melt in your mouth. The chicken and lamb shish in my mixed grill 'Karishik Izgara complemented each other marvellously and the garlic sausage had a very strong flavour that had a lovely contrast to the other meats. Oh, and the rice! I don't know what they do to the rice to make it so extremely delicious but I imagine they must cook it in butter or something, as I thought I detected a butteriness when eating it. If it transpired that they read poetry to it or that it was seasoned with angels' tears I'd be inclined to believe it, though, such is the gorgeous taste of this rice. I often think that this would be a good restaurant to come to on the diet I'm on, which does not allow you to have both fat/proteins and carbs in the same meal, as I could just have the meat without going off the diet. Managing not to eat the rice, however, would just be far too hard and so I'll have to exercise more self control if this is to be a diet friendly meal.
My boyfriend's meal was very good also and while he also really enjoyed the rice, thought that my wanting to bequeath all my worldly goods to it was probably a step too far. He clearly just doesn't appreciate good food the way I do. His lamb cutlets were, again, beautifully cooked and tasted gorgeous. They obviously tasted very similar to the lamb I had, and so I didn't have too much of his, but I was impressed with how nice they were. We didn't have dessert but I shared a baklava with my friend when we went a few months ago and remember it being gorgeous. If you can fit it in, by all means go for a dessert, but I imagine you'll be too full after starters and mains to be able to face one.
The Turkish wine was also to be commended. I don't remember having had Turkish wine before, but have possibly had it at the Turkish restaurant in Newcastle and just forgotten, but was impressed with this one even without a comparison. I'm pretty sure we had a couple of bottles, which is often testament to a wine's quality. It tasted good quality and complemented the savoury flavours of the meat very well, as well as being a good accompaniment to the starters. I love red wine though am quite picky about it, and have to say that this is one of the good ones. The mint liqueurs were also very nice and made a nice end to the meal.
== The Restaurant Itself ==
As I've said, Hanedan is a lovely little restaurant. There are a couple of tables as you enter the restaurant next to where the till and everything is, but most of them are behind a little wall. The toilets are at the back just before the kitchen (but are not particularly obvious and I reckon people often accidentally walk into the kitchen itself when looking for them, as my friend and I did last time we went). It has a lot of charm, with one of my favourite things about the place being its clock, bizarrely. Instead of being true to its name and going clockwise, this one goes anti clockwise, with 9 being where the 3 should be and so on. It's just a little quirky thing and I imagine it's very confusing for staff when they start working there until they're used to it, but I think it's great and I love it.
The staff and service was great, as far as I remember. I loved how the manager came to get us when our table was ready and he was very apologetic when we had to wait longer than expected for one. The waiters and waitresses were all nice and friendly and I believe that they were all Turkish themselves. I have no complaints at all in terms of staff or service.
== In Conclusion ==
Well I don't normally write reviews as long as this one, but I can't quite make myself stop when I truly love something, and love Hanedan I do. The food was sublime, the staff were great and it's a lovely little place. Its location is also nice with it being situated near West Preston Street just off the meadows, and from where we live in Bruntsfield/Tollcross it's a lovely walk through the meadows or Marchmont to get there. If you live or are staying anywhere in the Old Town you shouldn't have too much of a walk to get here and wherever you are in Edinburgh, a bus or taxi journey here shouldn't be too painful either.
The food here is also very well priced, especially considering the quality and quantity of what you get. The meze cost between £3 and £4 each, with the lalezar starter selection costing just over £6 per person. Mains are also very reasonably priced at between £8 and £10, with desserts costing between £4 and £5 if memory serves. Wine starts at about £13 per bottle. I consider this to extraordinary value, as two courses with two bottles of wine (could we have possibly drank that much?) coming to less than £60 between us. Of course if you drink less wine (as you probably should) then it'll be even better value, and if you only go for a main it's cheaper still.
I'll just end this review by stating once again how much I adore this restaurant and by highly recommending that you go if you live in Edinburgh or if you ever visit.