Taza started out with a bakery in Newhaven and now it has added this Edinburgh city centre restaurant to its portfolio. On approach it looks like a bright, bustling takeaway, but you can also eat inside. Tonight the light and activity it generates animates the louche, crepuscular corner.

A partially-covered area is open to the street with tables where men are gathered, a bit like a Greek kafenion. It feels exhilaratingly foreign, as if we’re on some Levantine pavement. Yeasty aromas waft out.

Taza looks and smells so inviting, it almost puts its hand round your shoulder and draws you in.

Catering equipment suppliers must have had a bonanza when Taza rolled into the city centre. At the doorway there’s a machine making ayran, the Turkish salty yogurt drink, a bubbling drum of foamy, whipped cream-like curds and a tap that gushes with the more liquid part of the fermented milk. Taza is Syrian, but fermented milk drinks in varied forms are a staple throughout the Middle East. Here they serve it in copper cups.

At the counter – this is where you order irrespective of whether you’re eating in or picking up a takeaway – my eye scans the apparatus for making flatbreads – a mixer, a ringer for rolling them out, the wall lined with wooden planks and brackets to house the shaped dough before it’s slipped into the blazing bread oven. And then I notice the glassed-in chicken rotisserie machine turning rhythmically, the vertical spit that’s dedicated to roasting meat for doner kebabs, and the waist-height barbecue-style charcoal grill. This effort to give Scotland a proper Syrian restaurant is certainly kitted out for the job.

The menu talks of “stone baked pies” but this translation is misleading. We’re talking here of mana’eesh, that’s flatbreads with various toppings. Now in front of us we have two.

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The first is lichen-green with za’atar, that mix of pungent green herb – usually marjoram, oregano, or thyme – fruity sour sumac berries, salt, and sesame seeds. Blended with oil it fills the blistering craters of the bread, toasting the seeds to a pleasingly toasty degree.

The second is covered with soft minced lamb with pomegranate molasses and sweated onions.

The breads themselves are very white inside as though bleached flour has been used, and distinctly sweet; too sweet for me.

On to the char-grilled lamb chops “marinated in special Syrian spices”. It’s hard to pin them down here; black pepper certainly, perhaps allspice, and cinnamon. The chops are good, although a bit on the dry side, and I could do with more salt. Insufficent salt is a hazard these days though.

I blame our misguided “healthy eating” gurus for that. Kebabs made from lamb’s liver are crusty with spices and sticky with pomegranate molasses, but again they’re too dry for my liking.

I wouldn’t come to Taza if you’re of the low-carb mindset; it’s big on bread and it comes with almost everything. So our kebbeh kebab – minced lamb mixed with bulgur wheat then shaped around skewers and cooked over flames – sits on a thin, chewy flatbread that glistens with oil.

I ignore the bread and concentrate on the kebbeh, which have that winning crumbliness that the grain brings, dip it in tzatziki and munch it with finely sliced, sumac-coated onions.

Taza does its desserts no favours by serving them in polystyrene containers. A big shame that, because they are very well made. This is top baklava.

Its golden-brown pastry rustles like baking parchment because it’s so crisp.

And this sticky semolina pudding with nuts embedded in it, basbouza? Well, it’s like two different textures in one dish: the darker, grittier top giving way to a soft, syrupy, buttery base, both punctuated by roasted walnuts. Like all Middle Eastern desserts I know, they’re both extremely sweet, but with a stiff espresso I’d enjoy a spoonful or two.

We can see why Taza in Town is doing a roaring trade. It has the approachability that makes a wide range of people feel comfortable and filling food that can be quite cheap.

Taza in Town, 69 Bread Street, Edinburgh 0131 629 1480

Food: 7.5/10

Atmosphere: 9/10

Service: 8/10

Value: 8/10