Barans is a Turkish restaurant in Scarborough serving epic kebab feasts preceded by a huge variety of equally epic hot and cold mezzes, all made from scratch in house.
The sprawling restaurant is less where to go for homestyle feasts and more of a destination for long, elegantly presented dinners that will leave you full to bursting with exotic Turkish dishes from various regions of the country.
Energetic manager Polat insists that everything in here is from Turkey down to the paint on the walls except for televisions playing old school Turkish films.
Two glistening handmade copper signs dominate the open concept space.
They hang over an open kitchen where grilling and baking goes on.
There’s also a gigantic wood-burning oven back here used to cook all pillowy lavash.
All sorts of Turkish decorations and photos cover one wall, including traditional instruments.
Cold mezzes come out on a big tray from which you make your selection.
The many dizzying options include hummus ($6) and a smoky baba ghanoush ($7). A garlic and mint pressed yogurt is called haydari ($6), and deliciously saucy beans are called pilaki ($6).
Wine leaves stuffed with ground beef, rice and spices are also known as sarma ($8).
All this is served with a veritable balloon of fresh house-baked bread.
It’s by turns soft and crispy, topped with crunchy sesame seeds.
Hot starters include pacanga boregi ($10), little fried cheese triangles made with Turkish pastirma and house dough.
There are also sigara boregi ($7), pastry rolls filled with savoury feta and parsley. Both are served with a tangy cooling dipping sauce and somewhat undercooked and unnecessary fries (though we obviously polished them off).
Ali nazik kebap ($29) tops a deeply flavourful smoked eggplant garlic yogurt puree with kebap, served with the typical hot pepper, grilled tomato and a smear of yogurt.
All kebaps here are cooked on the charcoal grill at the back, as well as many of their accompaniments and a ton of other dishes on the menu.
The beyti kebap ($30) is a standout, hand-minced veal and lamb kebap wrapped in thin lavash, topped with tomato sauce, butter and yogurt and served with hot pepper, cabbage, onion, tomato, a pile of rice and a healthy heap of tangy, cooling yogurt.
We’re offered a Turkish vodka that’s 75% alcohol, tempered to be palatable with premium Turkish spring water.
The drinks are delivered in metal vessels filled with a ring of solid ice so the beverage stays its coldest, served with ice cubes for even more dilution and an extra glass of spring water to chase the licorice-y spirit.
This restaurant is secretly bustling with life and glamour inside, opening at eleven on weekdays and earlier for weekend Turkish breakfasts.