I was first taken to Mangal 1 6 or so years ago by my friends Lou and Liam who lived down the road in Hackney at the time, and I’ve been going back ever since. Back then it had a real impact on me because I’d never really been anywhere like it in the UK before. It’s completely unpretentious, a bit ramshackle, and when you step through the door you feel like you’re in a different country.
You immediately get hit by the heat and smell of grilling meat from the massive open barbecue style grill that is slap bang in the middle of the restaurant. And that’s what the Turkish ocakbasi restaurants are all about. Meat and fire. The menu is dominated by kebabs, mostly lamb and chicken, although you can also get quail and offal too. I suggest you go with a few friends, because you’re going to want to try everything, but I can heartily recommend the following. (more…)