Havet – Tonbridge
Middle Eastern and African
Make no mistake, the owners of Havet know how to throw a party. Entering the impeccably stylish interior of this Turkish restaurant on a Monday night, you’d be forgiven for thinking the entire town’s population was inside – the place is packed, the atmosphere lively. Chirpy waiters steer trays of chargrilled, marinated morsels and vibrant cocktails through a forest of contented diners, as aromatic skewers of meat sizzle over coals in the bustling open kitchen. We visited for the launch night of the Tonbridge branch – located in a prime position near Tonbridge Castle – the Havet in Bromley having already become something of an institution.
The restaurant is a real family affair: cousins and brothers are involved in the business and parents are credited with inspiring the food. And what food it is. We enjoyed magnificently spiced lamb shish and adana, delicious meze plates of soslu patlican (fried aubergine in rich tomato sauce), manca (carrot and spinach dip), hummus, cacik (yoghurt, cucumber and dill) and taramasalata, served with plentiful lavas (flatbreads). Havet’s take on the humble falafel is crisp, sesame-heavy and nutty, and the wonderful sticky baklava comes packed with plenty of pistachios. The well-conceived menu allows for countless mouth-watering combinations and myriad excellent cocktails are on offer. I heartily raise a flamboyant glass of Strawberry Daiquiri to the expansion of the Havet empire.