What's the story?
Shawarma, za'atar, candlelight. Hanar's rolled into Peckham, and taken over the tucked-away spot that Yada's Green Kitchen (now moved to a new space at 104 Rye Lane) used to be in.
What's the vibe?
Utterly lovely. Casual, candlelit, little bit ramshackle, very friendly. Just as perfect for romantic liaisons, sharing your shawarma (not a euphemism) side by side in a warmly lit nook, as it is for raucous group dinners.
The terrace section's spartan but still inviting (and actually quite well sheltered) — sundappled in the early evening, graffiti outside bleeding in through the corrugated plastic windows in a dreamy, colourful haze. The inside's warm, cushioned, cosy, and smells of tahini and oven-fresh flatbreads. From the many brilliant meals out we've crammed into the recent weeks of London reopening, this place might just be our favourite of the lot.
Under and spilling out of a railway arch, just off Rye Lane in Peckham. Very much on the beaten track, but also tucked away from it.
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What's on the menu?
Mezze and mains both feature a lot of lamb and chicken — stuffed into flatbreads, baked into stews, slow roasted and shredded — but vegans and vegetarians have a good range of options. Expect a lot of lemon and za'atar and pomegranate molasses cropping up in the different dishes. And this is not a restaurant for garlic refuseniks.
They only serve soft drinks, but it's BYO — and there are several grocery shops between Peckham Rye train station and Hanar selling a good range of craft beer, non-craft beer, ciders, wines, and, regrettably, Snowballs in a can.
All of it, honestly. And we owe the menu a much more diligent roam on the further visits that we're already planning. Don't miss the pistachio and yellow lentil dip — smoky, rich, imperious. If we're forced to play favourites, we'd go chicken shawarma — ridiculously tender, gentle smoky — rather than kebab, but that's a close call. On our list for the next time we visit: walnut and pomegranate dip, something involving lamb, and the baklava.
Vegetarian and vegan offering?
Strong. Several vegetarian and vegan dishes among the main courses — aubergine stew, citrus and red bean stew, falafels — though some of the most alluring veg options are among the mezze and snacks, and there are enough of those to make a meal in their own right — think pistachio dip, walnut hummus laced with pomegranate, cheese naan, and za'atar fries.
Spectacular, though you might not realise immediately from the menu. £14 for a chicken shawarma doesn't sound like a bargain to brag about, but the generousness of the portions tips it into good value — the shawarma comes as a huge platter that could easily be a main course for two, with sides of za'atar fries, bean stew, salads, pickles, flatbread, chilli sauce — and the fact that it's BYO (£2.50 corkage charge) turns it into comedy-double-take great value.
We went really hungry, and with low impulse control (see also: the Snowball), and still struggled to finish one dip, and two mains between two people. You could easily have dinner for two here for £30, including service and corkage charge.
Can you reserve?
Yes — email email@example.com or call 07454 485005.
Pre-game and post-game?
Peckham's blessed with a lot of great bars — if the weather looks promising, swing by Frank's Cafe for a rooftop negroni, and views over the city. If you're going to need shelter, Bar Story's happy hour — two for one cocktails, 6pm to 7pm, every day of the week — takes some beating.
Post game has to be a few rounds of Street Fighter 2 and Ms Pacman at Four Quarters, two minutes walk from Hanar.
Hanar Kurdish Restaurant, Arch 163, Peckham Rye, SE15 4ST.
Londonist visited Hanar anonymously, and paid for our meal.