I have a problem with Mediterranean cuisine, by which I mean Greek, Turkish and Levantine – namely, its lack of range and of diversity of restaurant. French food, particularly in France, has its grand foodie establishments; the brasserie ; the neighbourhood restaurant and – at the lower end – the bistro with a formula 10 euro menu. We have seen the likes of Trishna and Gymkhana take Indian food upmarket to sophisticated levels, but Mediterranean food remains largely the same both in cuisine and venue.
Kazan, right opposite Mr Wong (living pro of how to make a cuisine more inventive and fun ), describes itself as Modern Ottoman. The decor is comfortable and the service excellent, but it’s the same old, same old, of meze and grills. I went there with a publisher, writer and broadcaster now over 80 but a hugely successful man, and his charming French wife. We normally go to Royal China but as he is now not so mobile they preferred less bustle.
We had the meze of hummus, taramasalata, dolmades, baked halloumi – all very tasty, but I have eaten this many times before – followed by the Ottoman grill of lamb, chicken and sausage with rice. The helpings were copious, but again nothing new. The bill for three came out at £145 with 2 bottles of smooth red wine from Anatolia, which is perfectly reasonable so no complaints there .
It was left to my friends, who also have homes in Palm Beach and South of France – they are frightfully successful and brainy- to supply the interest. I was interested to hear of a Florida law called Stand Your Ground, whereby a gun can be used in self-defence when provoked. This has been applied to a policeman off duty having popcorn thrown in his face when objecting to texting in a cinema house and a motorist telling a person in a garage to reduce the noise levels of his car music. In both cases the irate party produced a gun, fired and then relied on the aforementioned defence. I never take much interest in politics as they are all as bad as each other with their fibs – Ollie would go mad if I didnt vote Tory though he seems to be leaning to UKIP – but I was rather shocked by such a society and pleased we do not have a gun culture here. As I walked back through Victoria, the Daffers brain (never too stretched!!!) was reflecting more on this than the meal.