Restaurant Review: Hazev, Canary Wharf
The Single Gourmet Traveller took the fast train into London yesterday evening, leaving leafy Richmond in the farthest western outskirts of Greater London for the tall-rise urban landscape and not very leafy eastern area of London known as Canary Wharf. It always feels like a bit of a mission to cross right across London like this, but as it turned out it was remarkably easy (16 minute fast train to Waterloo from Richmond and about 10 minutes of Jubilee Line tube to Canary Wharf). In fact, it was so easy, I was very early!
I was heading to Hazev, the newest restaurant in the Tas chain, set on the waterfront and less than 5 minutes walk from Canary Wharf underground station, across a pedestrian footbridge.
Hazev is just on the other side of the bridge, and within sight as you exit a shopping plaza (where all the blue lights are in the photo below).
I always imagine Canary Wharf as a bit of a dead area but in fact it was buzzing with activity early evening, the footbridge full of people and lots of cafes and bars in the area. Hazev was likewise busy, buzzing with people having a good time – either in the restaurant area or the bar.
After I wrote my post on Tas Pide a couple of weeks ago, the Tas CEO and head chef, Onder Sahan, invited me to Hazev so that he could personally thank me and offer me a meal – and said I could bring a friend. He and everyone at Tas wanted to show me typical Turkish hospitality and Annie – who came with me – and I were very warmly welcomed. It was great to meet Onder and he made it clear he wasn’t expecting me to write another post about our meal; he just wanted us to have an enjoyable evening. But then, how could I not write about it? Because writing about lovely meals is one of the things I love doing most, and as the wonderful dishes made their entrance, a post on the blog was an absolute must for me.
I’ve been going to Tas in The Cut, near Waterloo and The Old Vic theatre, for almost 10 years. This was the branch Onder Sahan first opened in 1999. Now there are 7 more branches throughout central London, of which Hazev is the latest. The menu is much the same as the others but the waterfront location gives it a more tranquil and relaxing atmosphere: here is a place to spend a long evening with friends eating wonderful Turkish food.
Onder suggested he send a selection of meze to us to begin and that we choose a main course to follow. The meze selection is what I like most about food at Tas and I often choose one of the set menus that are made up of just meze.
First, though, came champagne and the fabulous Tas bread that I am seriously addicted to, with olives and dip, and then two meze that Onder brought to us himself, saying they weren’t on the menu: some stuffed cabbage leaves and pasta with meat and yogurt. They were both very good. Then the dishes started to arrive in earnest: gorgeous, colourful and tempting plates of Turkish meze.
There were plump and juicy prawns in a tomato and cream sauce, tabbouleh with lots of parsley and Tas’s humus that’s always so smooth and creamy and one of my favourite humuses anywhere.
Hot parcels of filo pastry stuffed with a gorgeous mushroom mixture came with warm koftes. There was a delicious aubergine salad and Kisir – bulgur wheat, spring onions, tomato and lots of nuts and fresh herbs, a favourite meze of mine.
We also had Cacik, a yogurt and cucumber dip and Zeytin Yagli Bakla – fresh broad beans cooked in olive oil with peppers, coriander and garlic served on yogurt.
As you can imagine, we were feeling quite full after all these fabulous dishes and welcomed the suggestion we have a little break before our main courses came. We both chose Levrek – grilled sea bass fillet served on a bed of green lentils, peppers, tomatoes, onions and coriander. Sea bass is one of my favourite fishes.
These were beautiful fillets, served on the warm lentils with the tomato, onion and coriander mix a fresh and delicious salad at the side. We decided to just have some tea after this to finish.
We were offered fresh ginger and lemon tea which was very good, but also a dish of desserts came for each of us – just as I was telling Annie that Tas’s baklava is excellent. There were two lovely little baklavas each and two Kayisi Tatlis, which are apricots stuffed with a cooked cream, almonds and pistachios – they were absolutely gorgeous; I love apricots so it was an excellent choice for me (as was Kayisi – since my name is Kay!).
We had a lovely evening and felt we’d sampled Turkish hospitality at its best. But aside from being given such an unexpected and lovely treat, Annie and I both liked Hazev a lot and thought the waterfront setting great. And now I know it’s actually an easy journey from West London, it’s going to be very easy to go back to!