You cannot walk along Kingsland Road without noticing the number of Turkish restaurants, but why do they all seem to have Mangal in the name? Well, a Mangal is a Turkish barbecue, so they are just letting you know they have one, it is a positive sign of freshly cooked food. There is one thing having a Turkish kebab at 4am and commending yourself on your ‘worldly’ food choices, but going to a Mangal it quite another.
And this one in particular, Mangal I (10 Arcola Street) is known to us locals to be the best; it is always busy, casual, cheap and BYOB. So grab some beers, gin and tonic cans or a cheap bottle of red, there is no one judging here and take a seat at the well-varnished wipe clean tables. You can take a look at the menu, but I don’t need to, it’s my local.. so I always get the same, and if you’re not fussy or veggie (the falafel is great too!) then I would recommend the same to give you the most variety.
This is the mix meze to start, and free bread is always provided! Hummus, Cacik (Taziki), Baba ganoush (charred aubergine puree) and tomato salsa. Simple yet delicious, the hummus and Cacik are served cold, and the baba ganoush and salsa warmed, a lovely touch, simplicity can be over looked these days.
This is the meat plater! The largest one with the full selection (feeds 2-3) beef, pork, chicken wing, baby quail, and my favourite the spiced mince lamb kebab all on a huge bed of salad. It almost feels healthy if you weren’t shoving it all down with a piece of bread the size of a mattress. The meat is freshly cooked on the Mangal, juicy charcoal barbecued meat in rainy central London, that’s luxurious in it self. This is the Ronseal of restaurants, does exactly what it says on the tin, and does it well.
10 Arcola Street
Hand wipes and Turkish delight to finish.
The Mangal and men at work.