Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Haz (St. Paul's) - where it hasn't.

The ambience in Haz is very City: wooden bar stacked with liquor and rows of vino neatly displayed in box shelves, leather(ette?) upholstered chairs and crisp linen tables, wooden panels lit by that subdued yellow lighting that makes everyone look beautiful, minimal decor and a full glass wall overlooking Cheapside. It very much looked like a glorified canteen for pinstriped-clad worker bees.

Much as I wanted to, something about the vibe stopped me from taking photos of the surroundings for fear of being demoted from "Cheeky in the City" to "Geeky in the City". We were led to our four-seater and I immediately felt sorry for the couple who were clearly on a date next to us. If they were trying to be intimate, then they'd have to do it with chaperones.

Anyway. On to the food.

Hummus (£4.65) tasted fresh and authentic but I thought the bread was a bit too thick for dipping. I can't say much about the marinated olives (£3.45 - *gasp*) as there wasn't really much of it.

The mixed meze (£7.95) is a grand production of the usual Turkish/Mediterranean starters. There's imam bayildi (aubergine roasted with toms, onions and spices), ispanakli yogurt (garlicky yogurt with spinach and carrots), kisir (bulgur salad), borek (feta and spinach filo pastry), and of course, humus, falafel and tabuleh. I'm a bit disappointed this was presented like so - it just looks like someone's starter plate from a buffet spread. Of all the stuff here, I only enjoyed the falafel and the kisir.

The manager gave us a taster of meat starters... on the house! A very kind gesture indeed. Unfortunately, I found the kofte too oily and too salty, the calamari too rubbery, the other few bits unappetizing. Oh well.

My date had the pirzola (£15.75), lamb chops on a bed of root mash and onion gravy with a side salad that went up for discussion more than the actual star of the plate. For what seemed like an upmarket restaurant, the salad looked like something a first grader would prep in home ec, an afterthought straight from mass produced packaging. Anyway. The chops were a bit over but the mash with onion gravy was good.

I ordered the fener baligi (£14.95) aka monkfish tail with vegetables in some sauce. You can see from the plate that they were absolutely generous with the herb garnish, oui? Is Emeril Lagase in the house going "BAM!" Anyway all's well. I actually enjoyed the dish, the monkfish was fresh and cooked perfectly, veggies blanched nicely. The sauce tastes rather, uh, oriental though. I swear, I've had something similar in a Chinese restaurant or even at home in Manila. Hmm. Curious.

Overall, I think the Haz dinner was so-so. I wouldn't necessarily say it was bad because the place looks great and I'm sure it has some dedicated punters. Somehow it wasn't quite what I expected but if I'm being honest I came to dinner without expectations anyway. Let the food speak for itself and the wine flow freely, I thought. Not in Haz, though (at least not for me).

Haz
34 Foster Ln, St Paul's, London EC2V 6HD | +44020 7600 4172
Ave spend pp: £30

Haz on UrbanspoonSquare Meal

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