The smell of char grilled meat wafts out the door of Mangal Ocakbasi in Stoke Newington. Once inside you are hit by a blast of heat from the huge grill where skewers of every type of meat sizzle away. Clouds of smoke billow up filling the room as flames lick the meat and straight away you know you have entered a carnivores paradise.
The grill at Mangal Ocakbasi
The restaurant is as no frills as the slightly grimy street it is situated in. Bare tables are closely packed together and service is pretty non-existent. While our meals came out quickly it took us about three separate requests to get a bill and our waiter seemed strangely preoccupied with arranging napkins and cutlery on tables rather than serving customers. Still, given the bargain basement prices I suppose you can hardly expect Michelin star worthy attention.
We started with the mixed meze which was divided into four quarters of a creamy hommus, tangy cacik and two salata tomato based dips. It came with a huge basket of bread. Clearly though this was just a precursor for the meat that was to follow.
From there we had the cop sis lamb kebabs (£9.50) which had a great charred flavour but were a little tough. A much better option was the brilliant chicken in garlicky yoghurt, the yoghurtul tavuk sis (£10.50). The creamy yoghurt sauce was draped over chunks of moist chicken and soft bread which had been almost caramalised. Genius.
Yoghurtul tavuk sis
We finished with some baklava (£3) which had a nice soggy base and flaky top and provided a requisite sweet finish to our meal. Unfortunately our accompanying mint tea was a peppermint tea bag rather than the fresh mint I was hoping for, but at £15 a head for three courses, a glass of wine and tea it would feel churlish to complain to much. For an even cheaper meal, Mangal Ocakbasi also does BYO drinks at no corkage charge.
Mangal Ocakbasi is a good cheap option for grilled meat, although don’t go with high expectations of the service or any additional frills.
Details: Mangal Ocakbasi, 10 Arcola Street, Stoke Newington, E8 2DJ (Ph: 020 7275 8981)
Damage: Such a bargain my mother would approve