“ A Kurdish and Middle Eastern restaurant near Edinburgh Castle / Address: Johnston Terrace, Edinburgh, EH1 2PW / Tel: 0131 225 1329 „
My boyfriend and I decided to try Hanam's the other day as we were looking for something slightly different to what we normally have. The outside of the restaurant looked nice, and although the prices were fairly high for a main meal (£10 or more for basically everything); we decided to give it a go. We went into the entrance off Victoria Terrace, which turned out to be the downstairs area, and we stood there for a few minutes before a waitress appeared and asked us to go upstairs. We did so and found a medium sized single roomed restaurant, which was fairly quiet but this was to be expected as it was a Tuesday night.
The waiter sat us down and gave us menus without really saying anything, and (in my opinion) although he wasn't rude he wasn't overly welcoming either. We decided what we wanted fairly quickly, and despite the fact that the waiter wasn't busy and was standing at the bar it took quite a while for anyone to come and take our order. I was fairly thirsty and wasn't overly impressed that we weren't asked if we would like anything to drink for what felt like 15 minutes.
The menu was fairly interesting with a selection of both meat (mainly chicken and lamb) and vegetarian dishes. There were stews and other similar dishes, as well as a whole kebab section as well as one for smaller side orders, though I don't remember exactly what was on offer as I decided fairly quickly what I fancied. We decided not to have starters but each went for a main: I had a lamb and okra dish whose name I can't quite remember (Baya Ba Gosht or something similar), and my boyfriend had a Nucao, which was a chicken and chickpea dish. Both came with rice and naan, and we ordered extra naan and hummus as a side.
The food didn't take too long to come, and I have to say that I was fairly disappointed when it did arrive. For the price of £10.75 I expected slightly more than my fairly small bowl of lamb, and it seemed as though the chefs had tried to make the meal look bigger by giving us each more rice than we could possibly eat. Although we had ordered extra naan and were meant to get some included anyway we were only given one (fairly large) naan between us, and so I imagine that we would have got very little each if we hadn't ordered extra. The hummus came on a small plate that we shared between us.
My lamb and okra stew was, I have to say, quite nice, but it definitely felt like it was missing something. The lamb was soft and well cooked, and the rest of the stew was pleasant enough, but there was just nothing really special about any of it and I didn't feel that it was worth the £10.75 price tag. My boyfriend's chicken dish was, unfortunately, significantly poorer than mine, and was essentially just cooked chicken and chickpeas with a bizarrely watery quality. I ate all of my stew, as although it wasn't great it was okay, but turned down my boyfriend's offer to finish his dish for him.
So, the mains were a bit of a disappointment, yet I would still rate the food as 3 out of 5 because the hummus and naan were very good. I used to eat hummus all the time as a child, and particularly like the hummus at a very good Turkish restaurant in my home town of Newcastle, so hummus has to be fairly good to impress me. The naan was nice and had a good texture, and if my whole meal had been the same quality as the naan and hummus I would have been a happy customer.
The decor of the restaurant and its layout were nothing to write home about, though they did have a Middle Eastern style which felt authentic to me, although I am completely unfamiliar with Middle Eastern cuisine and culture so I'm not the best judge of this aspect. The toilets were nice enough and clean, so at least that's something.
As you may have gathered, I was disappointed by this restaurant and I, and my boyfriend and I won't go again and nor will we be recommended it to our friends. The food, bar the hummus, was average at best, and I felt that the service was disinterested and poor. I work in a bar myself and so am fairly understanding when service is below average if the restaurant is busy or there are clearly too few staff, and am quite happy to wait as long as the waiters are friendly. Unfortunately, since it was quiet and the staff appeared unfriendly, I was unhappy with the service and so made the decision not to leave a tip. I generally tip even average service, so it has to be bad for me to leave nothing at all.
My review hasn't been massively detailed with regard to the full menu on offer or much about the decor, but I don't really want to talk at length about a restaurant which I didn't enjoy and which I am not recommending. If you would still like to go to Hanam's despite advice not to bother, you can find out more information about their food and location at http://www.hanams.com.
Our meal cost around £27 between us, which I would be happy to pay for a one course meal and drinks at a nice restaurant, but since we only drank water (they don't serve alcohol) and the food was only adequate, I was unimpressed. I didn't complain at the restaurant, because I would feel far too uncomfortable doing so, but I definitely won't be gracing this restaurant with my presence in the future.