Sunday 3 April 2011

Hisar Restaurant, Lordship Lane, South London

A no-nonsense, neighbourhood Turkish restaurant, Hisar has a garish facade and a spartan, dated interior, with a tiled floor and unflattering lighting. But don't be put off. This place is excellent value. The best way to sample the array of starters (about three or four quid apiece) is to order a mixed meze. You'll probably get some fresh, warm pitta bread, tasty morsels of mince meat and onions, wrapped in vine leaves, plus pastry rolls filled with feta cheese and parsley, accompanied by big bowls of hummus, taramasalata and tzatziki. Among the many mains, the knuckle of lamb casserole (about £12) is substantial and delicious, if a little fatty and salty. The meat falls off the bone and the tomato sauce is full of flavour. The brief wine list is dominated by Turkish wines, but they are mostly keenly-priced and surprisingly good, while the Shiraz from Puglia is a bit lackluster. If you don't fancy wine, the Turkish beer Efes is a pilsner with a pleasant malty flavour. Hisar can get busy at weekends, but it is a big restaurant with plenty of staff. 8/10