I love eating at restaurants that give me a taste of how the other side of the world live. I especially love small independent restaurants that give fantastic, dedicated customer service and fabulously flavoursome food. For the best Turkish food and great company from a small family of staff working alongside Head Chef, Gursel, and his wife serving their loyal customers at Hanedan.
I do visit bigger chain restaurants occasionally because I believe in supporting those that support local suppliers, like Jamie’s Italian (see here), but I also believe in support local independent businesses as much as possible, regardless of whether they’re offering a service or producing goods to sell.
Hanedan is a small Turkish restaurant on West Preston Street which offers tasty dishes for very reasonable prices. This is the perfect set up for regular customers who don’t fancy the thought of big and busy restaurants available in the centre of town and also being close to the Meadows and several Edinburgh University student residences, is an attractive location for students who want a quiet place to meet up with friends for a catch up.
The minute you walk through the door, you’re warmly greeted by staff in the restaurant and shown quickly to your table so you can get comfortable and settled. Especially in this cold weather, you don’t want to be hanging around near the door where the cold draft can get in! Once you’re at the door, have a look around and tell me what you see. The restaurant is decorated full of eccentric items that made me feel like I was in a treasure trove. Immediately behind the door is a wall full of skeleton keys (one of my favourite things!). If you didn’t get a chance to look carefully at the shop front windows, have a look before you leave! There are lots of tin cups along the bottom edge of the window! If you’re sitting in the room away from the front door, there is also a selection of sea glass sitting on the ledge window between the upper level seating area and the main dining area. Various wine labels are also organised into a collage and framed!
Once we were seated, given menus and our drinks order was taken, we were immediately served a bowl of pitta bread and olives. I’m not a big fan of olives, although the pitta bread was nice and yeasty. We decided to order a starter and main course each and share a side dish.
Helim izgara (grilled halloumi) and borek (filo pastry filled with feta and spinach)
Kalamar (seared squid with walnut and crispy salad)
Starters were just right. The filo pastry was nice and soft with the right amount of crunch and the squid was seared perfectly, not too chewy and not too soft. It worked nicely with the crunch of the walnuts and balanced with fresh greens with a touch of oil from the squid.
Kuzu pirzola (grilled lamb cutlets)
Firin kofte (oven-baked meatballs in tomato sauce, left) with feta salad side dish
Tavuk guvech (sautéed chicken with onion and mushroom)
We had a bowl of rice each with our mains. The rice has got to be the best rice I’ve ever had and being Chinese, where rice is a big part of our diet, that’s saying something for me. The rice is boiled to perfection (I’m not a big fan of soft, fluffy but soggy rice and I don’t like rice that tastes of water) and has a hint of a flavour to it that keeps you going back for more. I still haven’t worked out what that magic ingredient is that gives it a fragrant flavour like butter without feeling to greasy or heavy in your stomach.
At first I was worried about the small size of rice, but they do give you a generous helping of your main meze so you know they’re not skimping on their quality meals! It doesn’t happen often, but there was one restaurant I visited that was supposed to be the ‘best authentic noodle restaurant in Edinburgh’ and I was sorely let down (for a bowl of noodles at £7.95, there were more noodles in the bowl than the actual dumplings I asked for that were no bigger than the pad on my thumb). It’s refreshing to know that here, at Hanedan, they’re not concerned about bulking you up with so much carbs that you don’t eat too much meat. They want you to have a hearty meal and by doing so, making sure you have an authentic Turkish meal, give you what you ordered.
We were already starting to get quite full after the starter and main course, but we couldn’t pass up the sumptuous selection of dessert on offer!
You can’t go for an authentic Turkish meal without finishing with baklava (layered filo pastry with mixed ground nuts, honey and syrup)!
Hanedan’s Mess (strawberry, meringue and whipped cream)
The puddings are a nice size, I felt like the bite sized baklava were perfect. Sometimes you feel a bit overwhelmed after a big meal and seeing a generous slice of baklava, but the smaller bite sized portions make it more manageable.
The whole meal was a very enjoyable one. I love tasty meals that don’t have you leaving the restaurant holding your belly from eating too much. Each dish was really tasty and perfectly cooked. With wonderful staff who are attentive to your every need, I’m definitely going back and looking forward to enjoying more tasty food!
Hanedan is at 41 West Preston Street in Edinburgh, EH8 9PY and is open Tuesdays to Sundays (closed Mondays) for lunch between 12:00 to 3:00pm, and 5:30pm till late for dinner. To make a reservation, call 0131 667 4242 or 07985 726 585 – please note they don’t take bookings by e-mail, so make sure to call ahead!