A Pimlico mainstay since 2002, this Ottoman grill is situated on the no-man’s-land stretch of Wilton Road – the bit that’s not quite posh Pimmers and not quite Victoria – right opposite another, unrelated restaurant called, er, Kazan Kitchen. This one is a buzzy, atmospheric spot. Neither modern nor trad, it’s doing a polished, Nat Geo take on the rustic Ottoman aesthetic, with old-school mintan jackets mounted on the walls, intricate wooden screens carving up the room and patterned lamps projecting warm, ambient light.
There are some rogue, resolutely un-Ottoman sounding things on the menu (think: sage-wrapped tempura prawns) but given the elevated kebab house status of the place, you’d be mad to miss the classics.
A mound of arnavut cigeri (Albanian-style calf’s liver) was gorgeous: grease-free, humming with dusky, citrussy sumac and studded with the sharp-sweet flavour bombs of pomegranate seeds. Battered halloumi – silken rather than squeaky – was a tad on the greasy side but came delectably flounced over a bed of smoked aubergine.
From the mezze plates, a bowl of hummus was crushingly rich and smooth as a male Love Islander’s chest. In place of the usual filo deadweights, tiny borek parcels were shatteringly crisp but a little stingy on the feta; while sesame-flecked falafel was fragrant, light and granular (some lip-smacking tahini sauce provided necessary lubrication).
Then, a main event in the form of the Kazan Special, a mixed kebab by another name. There was, apparently, chargrilled chicken, lamb shish and kofta in the unexpectedly pretty pile – though, being covered in a thick layer of strained yoghurt and spiced tomato, ID-ing anything decisively was exacting. Perched on springy, juice-soaked bread and given a liberal spattering of punchy chilli sauce, this magical mound of mystery meat was, obviously, frickin’ delicious. Once again, a superlative mixed kebab. With the meat sweats encroaching, I skipped dessert but left perilously full and utterly satisfied. Kazan is a local favourite for a reason.