Friday, 28 November 2008

Mangal Ocakbasi Restaurant



Grilled Quails

at 11 quid to include hefty dressed salad and loadsa bread

Prices have generally gone up from 15 to 20 percent since I last came here.

One of the best places in London for grilled meats.

Don’t you dare mention the battery hens, silence of the lambs or carcinogens!

Came here for lunch with Jase the Essex Lad, his next favourite kind of tuck after saveloy and chips.

Shared starter of Patlican Salata
(Lightly grilled aubergine and peppers both mashed up and topped with yoghurt & butter)

Shared mains of Special Mixed Kebab.
(Including shish, kofte, lamb chop, rolled shoulder, wing of a pterodactyl and a quail)

The waiter, whilst purposefully bearable was irritatingly smug as well. He said the two shared starters and mains were not enough to feed the two of us and suggested we doubled our order. I begged to differ and guess what, we couldn’t finish the bread basket, accompanying salad and the aubergine. That said, the excellent lunch came to £20 to include two small bottles of Turkish bottled water that made our Thames taste like nectar. Bloody good value and you will not be disappointed.

As for puds and coffee, head down here (10 mins walk).


This place gives a whole new meaning to the word kebab!

I wouldn’t be here without giving credit to World Foodie Guide, thank you Helen. Her write up on this place was measured and enough to convince me to make the pilgrimage. Stoke Newington is as a whole pretty much loveless and simply lack the vibrancy and excesses of the coalescence of Hoxton and Shoreditch. However what Stoke Newington has on the upper hand over the other two hip areas is the thriving proliferation of Turkish related restaurants, mini marts, bakeries and shops. On the restaurants alone I’ve had delightful meals and kebabs at Istanbul Iskembecisi and Somine Restaurant. And now we have Mangal Ocakbasi Restaurant, which might well be the home to one of the finest kebabs in London.

The street where this restaurant is situated is nondescript and suitably grim, the shop-front is typically reminiscent and generic of most fast food joints found in any misunderstood inner city corners. Upon entering and finding ourselves a table, I couldn’t help but adjudge that it wasn’t really a restaurant but instead a takeaway with seats and tables. The ambience is non-existent (like the service, but at least the men in black enjoy smiling) and the dining area veering towards shabby side of things. Like all restaurants of this ilk, the sight of the multi tasking man sitting by the brazier manning, fanning, cooking and preparing the salads can only encourage the appetite even more.

The breadbasket arrived first, it was fresh and lovingly warm but I couldn’t help but gulp at the quantity of it all. An order of mixed kebabs for two was epic and huge, the accompanying mixed salad was well-dressed and equally generous in portion, probably too much IMO (I hate wasting food).

All the meats were beautifully fresh, impeccably seasoned and skilfully cooked except for the Lokma. For instance the Adana Köfte is quite often bland and made from dodgy lamb mince, but the ones we had at Mangal was huge, lamby and properly spicy. The Sis kebab, lamb chops and chicken wings were all equally fantastic as well. The only let down was the Lokma Kebab (grilled deboned fillet of lamb), for it was too overcooked and as a result too chewy. Despite the glitch, I can confidently say that this place serves the finest kebabs to date.

Mangal Ocakbasi Restaurant is indeed a wondrous find, superior food at stupendously affordable prices. I can’t really imagine anyone being let down here, even the vegans will be happy with the impressive salads. Afiyet olsun! (Enjoy you meal).

10 Arcola Street
London E8 2DJ

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