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Hanam's - a pudding too far?

By Eleonora Vanello

Peeking over Victoria Street is Hanam’s, a Kurdish & Middle Eastern restaurant which transports you to the Levantine.  Heavy drapes, beads, embroidery and silk nod to the folklore of the area and create character and ambience.  I met Mrs Bite for a pre-weekend dinner and dominated by ‘that Friday feeling’ we immediately focused our attention on the drink list: wines, ciders, beers and even champagne though are alcohol free. We forgot the restaurant is a BYOB. Corkage though is reasonable at £1.50 for wine. 

Whilst discussing the menu a bout of Middle Eastern music erupted and a belly dancer appeared. The rhythm and hypnotic charm of the dancer bought even more life and entertainment to the busy restaurant.  We ordered mezze which comprised a colourful selection of small plates: halloumi fries, falafel, sun dried tomatoes & ginger tapenade, whipped feta with dates, hummus shawarma, soujuk (spicy Lebanese sausages), naan and the highly recommended Muhammara which is a blend of red pepper, onion, chilli, pomegranate sauce, walnuts & from Aleppo, Syria.  Its flavour is sweet and almost lemony, due we were told to the pomegranate. Spoilt for choice we didn’t know where to start dipping our flat bread.  Mrs Bite loved the muhammara, the whipped feta (interesting finding the cheese not in a chunk but in a creamy format) and the sun-dried tomato dip. The high spot for me being with the shawarma, a delicious bed of creamy hummus and shavings of grilled lamb. The falafel and the halloumi fries were a slight let down with the former being too big and thus slightly dry and the halloumi being a little too thick cut. We felt that these two dishes needed a little refinement to make their flavours really shine.  Next came desserts and our friendly waiter persuaded us to order not only baklava but also a selection of ice cream and sorbets and a baklava cheesecake.  The cheesecake turned out to be a great choice with the slightly sour cheese balancing the filo shavings which tumbled down the cake.  Hanam’s was a lovely discovery; I appreciated the friendly service and the connection with tradition.  It’s a place not only for dinner but somewhere you can also sample a mystical Middle Eastern afternoon tea or an exotic shisha pipe on the terrace above Victoria Street.

Hanams 3 Johnstone Terrace, Edinburgh, EH1 2PW [View Map] 0131 225 1329 7 Days from 12 noon 'til late

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