Havet, Tonbridge, 15 November 2018
This is quite exciting! Havet is the first place that I am returning to as Eat Around Tonbridge….I know there are still some places that I haven’t reviewed but I’m a little proud that the blog has survived this long and I’m now returning to places. Once again, Havet kindly invited me so they generously paid for our meal – just for the record that doesn’t mean I’m biased towards them but I have to let you know.
Havet is always busy and it’s been such a great addition to the town. They invited me and my husband to try out some of the new dishes on their menu and so we popped along on a Thursday night.
The menu has undergone quite a bit of change which hasn’t been received well by some of the customers but Serhan and the team have done, in my opinion, a great job in explaining their rationale. They haven’t run away from the criticism and in fact have done the complete opposite – they’ve dealt with it head on. They want to continue providing dishes with quality, fresh ingredients but at the same time minimise food waste. These two objectives have led to them having to make tough decisions on the number of sides that can accompany a main for under £10 and the price of some meats. They have also rolled out environment friendly packaging for their takeaways which has to be commended too.
I had the smoked aubergine dip to start, Yoghurtlu Patlican, which came with lava bread whilst Mr Eat tucked into the meat balls. The aubergine dip was very smoky and if I’d finished it all it might have become quite overpowering but with the bread as well, it was filling and I wanted to leave room for my main! The meatballs, which were more burgers than balls, were devoured by Mr Eat but I was given a little taste and agreed that they were really tasty.
I do love a saslik (shashlik) so when I saw it on the menu and that it was new, I had to have it. I usually go for chicken saslik from Indian takeaways but this was lamb and equally delicious. It had the right amount of spice and flavouring for me and it really did melt in the mouth. I had the sweet bulgar side whilst my other half had chicken adana and spicy rice. It was all really tasty and we took our time, really enjoying it.
We were staggered at the size of the sides though and each sent about half back as we couldn’t finish them! We can easily see how two sides might be too much for many people and so lead to food waste. I mentioned this to the management team and they explained that the decision to change the combo to a main + 1 side was exactly for this reason. The sides are still quite large they say but they want us to dine in a more meze style whereby we all share, try a little bit of each other’s sides. This is a much more European style of eating and I love it – it’s fun, you have a laugh, you try something that otherwise you might not have chosen. All good – give it a try!
We were tucked away seated in a little booth – I love those. Despite being in a busy restaurant, it felt as though Mr Eat and I could have a proper conversation. Definitely going to ask for one of those next time I go! The service was excellent throughout our experience – attentive but not annoying, always smiling.
I enjoyed some Turkish white wine – lovely – whilst Mr Eat had some TOFS beer. As I said I didn’t see the bill but looking at the online menu, I think it would have all come to about £50 excluding tip.
Change of menu or not, Havet is still the most popular place to eat in Tonbridge judging by the bustling Friday and Saturday nights. They have a formula and it’s definitely winning. Don’t worry about how many sides you’re getting for your money – the food and service were great and they continue to be too.