Smart yet relaxed, Kazan is a fine example of how a restaurant can showcase Turkish cuisine without being either a prosaic ocakbasi or an opulent Ottoman pastiche. Verdigris walls and just-so table settings immediately give the impression of a thoughtful operation; decor is restrained, with only a few screens, well-placed ornaments and hanging lanterns providing any clue of what’s on the menu.
Efficient, smiling staff bring upmarket renditions of meze and classic Mediterranean and Anatolian dishes: köfte, chops, moussaka, slow-cooked lentil stews and güveç. A few of these aren’t often seen and are worth seeking out. Delicately spiced lentil köfte comes with pearls of fresh pomegranate and molasses (and is described as ‘ladies’ navels’. Not men’s, of course – who would want to eat those?). Mualle is an aubergine-based vegetable stew with tomato and pepper that, although filling, perhaps could have been more assertive in taste; it required the proffered chilli sauce to enliven it.
Nevertheless, all freebies – bread, vegetable pilav, olives and pistachio turkish delight brought with the bill – are of a high quality. There’s a basement room for larger groups, which means the ground-floor atmosphere remains calm.