John Barling and his wife are impressed with the food, wine, ambiance and great value of this popular Turkish restaurant
Turkish restaurants are growing by numbers and in popularity but perhaps a trip to Sevenoaks doesn’t come to mind if you’re seeking out a different one. That has now changed with the opening of the town centre’s first Turkish restaurant, only 5 minutes walk from the main line station – and with the added bonus of free, on-street parking during the evening.
Hattusa is in a 3 storey building standing on the site of the now-closed House On The Hill in London Road and also has a sister restaurant in Tunbridge Wells. My wife and I took a spur-of-the-moment decision to try this newish addition to the vibrant Sevenoaks culinary scene and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. As it was early on a recent quiet Tuesday evening, we took our chances without a reservation – this paid off but by 7.00pm Hattusa was over 50% full and, by all accounts, it would be nigh on impossible to get a table without prior booking for any weekend day. The decor and ambience are pretty much what you’d expect – wooden tables, chairs and paintwork designed to transport your senses to the eastern Mediterranean if only for a couple of hours or so.
The comprehensive menu is straightforward and offers wide choices for both experienced devotees of Turkish cooking and newcomers. My wife and I would fit somewhere between those two categories. As starters we shared meze dishes of cold barbunya pilaki (barlotti beans cooked with tomatoes, onions, carrots in olive oil, topped with parsley and fresh lemon) and hot ispanakli borek (spinach, onions and garlic within deep fried filo pastry parcels). Other meze selections could have included taramasalata, humus, findik lahmacun (Turkish flat bread with minced lamb, onions and peppers), calamari and falafel to name just a few. For our main courses we both chose shish (lamb for my wife and chicken for me) which came with bulgur, white rice, salad and bread and elsewhere the menu featured an extensive range of lamb, chicken, fish and several vegetarian dishes. The reasonably priced wine list is relatively short but probably succeeds in catering for all tastes and we selected the red Primitivo Solandia from Puglia which neatly complemented our meal.
Restaurants have to be good to impress my wife and she rated Hattusa as “excellent” in every respect – and who am I to disagree? The food, wine and service were absolutely spot on. Just as agreeable was the bill for the two of us – a shade over £56 and wonderful value for such quality. Only two other points to add (1) there is an Hattusa shop at 145 Sevenoaks High Street (100 yards or so from the restaurant) where you can buy ready to cook meals from the restaurant menu and (2) as the restaurant is on 3 floors this needs to be considered for customers with mobility issues. Will we be returning to Hattusa? Yes, and probably very soon.
115 London Road