Added on: 29th January, 2020 by O1
FAMILIAR to many as Marteen, Orpington resident, Bahattin Agdemir is a local restaurateur best known as the owner of Hisar Meze Bar. He also has interests in Fiesta Mexicana. We dropped by to find out about the man behind one of Orpington’s favourite restaurants.
O1st: “Hello Marteen. Tell us a bit about your background.”
BA: “I was born in Kars, Turkey. I graduated with a degree in mechanical engineering and worked as a structural engineer in Balfour Beatty’s planning department for four years, focusing on a large motorway project. I’d always been keen to experience the British way of life and to improve my English, so when the project finished, I travelled to the UK, expecting to stay a couple of years. That was 1992!”
O1st: “What was your introduction to hospitality?”
BA: “Alongside my English studies, I worked part time in Bromley restaurant, Calligulette, still planning to return to Turkey. I certainly had no intention of starting a career in the restaurant business. My boss at the time said I would be in it for life – I told him “No way!” but he turned out to be right.”
O1st: “He obviously spotted something in you that was suited to the industry...”
BA: “Yes. He gave me an opportunity to progress. It was also whilst working at Calligulette that I met my wife, Laura. We were engaged nine months later, whilst on holiday in Turkey. We’ve now been living in the Bromley Borough for 25 years and have three daughters aged 12, 14 and 17.”
O1st: “How does the UK compare to Turkey for you?”
BA: “I absolutely love living in the UK. The lifestyle is harder, but a lot of good things come with that. Of course, I do miss family and friends back in Turkey – as well as the weather!”.
O1st: “So, how was Hisar born – what’s your unique selling point?”
BA: “I took the site on in September 2012. We aim to serve high quality Turkish cuisine with warm and efficient service, giving customers that personal touch. The quality of the ingredients is very important. There is a Turkish saying “You can’t make a good stew with cheap meat.” Food is freshly prepared every day and meat is marinated for 24 hours – we believe this is the optimum time. The quality of the charcoal is also key, giving our food its unique flavour. “
O1st: “What does the future hold in store for Hisar?”
BA: “I’ve had a few offers to franchise but I prefer to keep the restaurant unique. It’s been fantastic to see the improvements to Orpington in recent years and I’m delighted that we have played our own small part in raising the quality. We’re very pleased to receive positive feedback from the customers, and we look forward to continuing to grow with the town.”
Read lots more articles like this one in The Orpington 1st Magazine