A CULINARY JOURNEY AT HOVARDA: WHERE MEDITERRANEAN FLAIR MEETS EXQUISITE HOSPITALITY
Nestled on Rupert Street in Soho, Hovarda beckons customers into a realm where the term ‘hovarda’ comes to life. Hovarda, which is used in both Turkish and Greek, playfully references a generous host with a free spirit. The restaurant boasts a ground-floor dining space with a large open kitchen and counter dining overlooking open-fire grills and a luxe first-floor cocktail bar. Hovarda’s menu draws inspiration from the Aegean Sean, crafting dishes influenced by the region’s coastal bounty.
SPREADS AND BREADS, COLD AND HOT MEZZE
Our dining experience began with Sourdough bread, and Tamara from the Spreads and Breads menu. Alongside, Saganaki and King Scallop in Shell from the Hot and Cold Mezze. With a golden-brown crust and airy interior, the Sourdough was drizzled generously with thyme-infused olive oil. There’s something so simple yet delightful about the pairing of Sourdough and thyme olive oil. The fragrant and herbaceous quality of the oil creates a harmonious blend of texture and flavours with the bread.
The Tamara, accompanied by bottarga and dill oil, whilst not my personal favourite, found favour with my friend Louis. Made from fish roe, he found it was complemented well by the savoury taste of the bottarga, with the dill oil adding a refreshing herbal note. The dish was a harmonious blend of textures and tastes, showcasing a balance of richness and freshness.
The star of the show for me was the Saganaki. This culinary masterpiece featured aged feta wrapped in delicate kataifi pastry, drizzled with truffle honey, and garnished with basil. The result is a harmonious fusion of textures and flavours. The creaminess of the feta, the crispiness of the kataifi pastry, and the sweet, earthy notes of truffle honey. Not only delicious but also a visually stunning dish.
Finally, we each had a King Scallop in Shell, with lemon oil, truffle, and bone marrow. I am a big fan of scallops and can never say no when they are on the menu. Elegantly presented in its shell, it was a stunning symphony of flavours. With the oceanic richness and aromatic truffle notes, the perfectly grilled scallop had a delightful balance of citrus brightness and decedent savoury depth.
MAIN DISHES AND SIDES
Our main dishes included Red Prawn Orzo, and Grilled Baby Chicken, with a side of Truffle Chips. The Red Prawn Orzo had perfectly cooked prawns atop a delicate orzo, bathed in a rich red prawn bisque. Elevated by the savoury complexity of OX sauce and the aromatic touch of marjoram. Full of flavour, I felt the dish celebrated the essence of the Mediterranean with its blend of textures and taste.
The Grilled Baby Chicken was accompanied by sweetcorn, spelt, and graviera cheese. An interesting interplay of textures, you had the moist, juicy meat, crisp sweetcorn, wholesome spelt, indulgent cheese, and crisp chicken skin. The tender and smoky chicken fell apart beautifully as we cut into it and was delicious on the palate. Both dishes were paired with a side of Truffle Chips with a sprinkling of oregano. The truffle flavour was quite intense and overwhelming for me, and yet I couldn’t help going back for more.
HOVARDA: A FEAST FOR THE SENSES
Whilst we were offered dessert, our appetites were well and truly satiated, and we couldn’t handle another mouthful. Our culinary journey was a testament to the restaurant’s commitment to excellence, leaving us thoroughly satisfied and eager to return for another round of Mediterranean-inspired delights.
Hovarda delivers not only a gastronomic feast but also an inviting ambience, thanks to its meticulously designed space and hospitable staff. Contributing to the overall warmth of the restaurant, we were looked after by Mesha and Eros. Mesha’s friendly conversations added a personal touch, making us feel like old friends.