It took more than a year in London before I succumbed to the inevitable: the 3 a.m. kebab. I know, right? How does one register so many late nights in the city proper without ever - not once! - stuffing one's face with questionable meat of vague Middle Eastern origins wrapped in flat bread?
The answer, simply, is that I have no idea. Perhaps it's because, as another yelper so eloquently stated, the best these shops have to offer by way of a siren song is a "shiny, spinning turd in the window."
Thankfully my introduction to the infamous post-pub kebab happened while standing on the sidewalk outside Damascu Bite. I wasn't even hungry but managed to eat the whole thing. Well, not the whole thing - the cab driver we were lucky enough to snag forced me to toss the last two bites before getting in his chariot. For that I will never forgive him - or myself for actually doing it.
I was fully prepared to politely agree with my friend who guided me here after a night at George and Dragon that it was indeed a tasty night cap. Agreeing while secretly wishing I could get my hands on a burrito or some deep fried taquitos.
But here's the twist ending: it was a damn fine kebab. Damn fine.
Good food. Weird service attitude.
My boyfriend and I walked in and were a bit confused about whether we had to order at the counter or have a seat. I picked up a menu to have a quick look, while my boyfriend asked for a table for two.
Surprisingly our waiter replied in the most annoyed manner as if he had already asked us 1000 times whether we wanted to eat in or out.
"That's what I'm asking you. You want to sit heeeeere or take out?"
Baffled, I apologised and said I didn't hear him mumbling behind the counter.
As we had a seat, my boyfriend asked for recommendations and all we get is "nothing really. Nothing.".... uhm....ok? That's helpful.
After my lebanese mousakka arrives I ask whether it contains any meat. He tells me what it consists of (which was fine), but continues to tell me how good my meal is patronisingly. "Moussakka is very good. It's very tasty you know." Like he's trying to defend the course (I wasn't even complaining).
Nevertheless, the food was good, but the service was really a downer.
It was all good until I saw a massive disgusting hair in one of the starters (kebba). It was the most upsetting experience of my life. Very upsetting.
After one bite of the mixed kebab I was surprised.
After two bites I heard a chorus of angels.
After three bites I wanted to sandblast the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel and replace Adam's hand with an image of this tasty goodness. (As depicted here twitpic.com/epdro)
After four bites I was ready to create my own religion complete with hymns, a prayer book and the requisite oppression of people who don't look like me.
But then something strange happened. The flavour dropped out. It's not that it wasn't good, it's just that the second half of the kebab wasn't anywhere near as tasty as the first half. Perhaps the magic fairy dust they sprinkled didn't make its way down through the lamb and chicken, but it left me with a sad face similar to this one: =(.
In all seriousness though I haven't found a better late night kebab option in the East. The spot has a unique menu, a vibrant clientele and the required rundown feel to make me happy. I'll be back.
I was in London visiting friends this weekend, we were shopping around Brick Lane and were extremely hungry so decided to get a Shawarma wrap from Damascu Bite. I am a huge fan if Turkish and Mediterranian food and was really looking forward to my Lamb Shawarma (I was starving too). The place looked good from outside which is why we decided to give it a try and to be honest we were impressed by the decor inside as well. A girl comes and takes our order which was fairly simple, one mint tea, a Lamb Shawarma and a bottle of coke (My friend did not eat). After 15 minutes she comes back and asks what my drinks order was (seriously??) even though there were only 2 tables which were occupied, surely not the busiest time at the restaurant. The Shawarma which is extremely simple to make appears after 25 minutes (can not take more than 5 minutes). I had ordered for lamb and she gave me a chicken wrap, I addressed the issue, she apologized in a very stoned fashion (she definitely seemed like she was definitely in some other world) and took my plate away to change it. The replaced Shawarma appeared after 10 more minutes (by that time I almost lost my hunger). The food did not taste good and the lamb was smelly so I struggled to have even one bite and had to leave the rest!
I was so annoyed by the whole experience that I did not even have the energy or inclination to make yet another complain!
Verdict: Terrible Service and Bad Food with a good decor. Never going back again!
I don't consider myself a copycat, but in this case I must refer to my flatmate's review because she perfectly captures the excellence of this late-night food joint. Thanks Halle! See below:
"THE place to see and be seen for the late night snack.
Okay, I'm exaggerating just a bit. This place is a complete dump. But a dump that's packed between the hours of 1-4 AM. And rightfully so: the kebabs are phenomenal. If you find yourself hungry in Shoreditch sometime after the carriage turns into a pumpkin, check it out."
It's a kebab shop, perhaps not as dodgy as most, but at the end of the day (or rather night) it's a kebab shop and that is exactly what you are looking for.
Damascu Bite is a place of fond memories for me, of housemate bonding as we shared two kebabs and a bowl of chips on the bench convienetly placed right outside. It's also right on Shoreditch High Street so perfectly placed as you wander to find your bus after a night out in Hoxton/Spitalfields.
As to the food, well portions are large, the meat is tenderish without being overly greasy, and the service is fast. It fills you up, sobers you enough to get home, and doesn't make you feel like your very bowels are trying to murder you the next morning. What more do you want?
The only thing worse than waking up on a Sunday morning not really sure where you are or how you got there, is waking up covered in chili sauce with an empty kebab wrapper stuck somewhere on your person. Or both would be pretty bad actually, anyway I digress, the point is late night kebabs are evil unless they come from Damascu Bite.
Every ones mother warned them about going swimming on a full stomach, where was the more practical, actually useful advice about stumbling out of a club on a Saturday night and avoiding at all costs, the brightly lit shop window, framing what could only be described as looking like a huge, greasy, spinning turd on a stick? Well, she probably thought you could judge for yourself that eating something with such an ungainly appearance was not the best idea. Clearly she was wrong.
So next time you find yourself craving the dirty dog meat wrongness, head to Damascu bite instead where, for the same price as your average kebab house, you can eat to your hearts content, still obtain the admiring stares bestowed upon those persons with the balls to sit smugly on the night bus, stinking it out, munching away and not giving a damn, and wake up with your insides relatively unscathed by the whole experience. My favourite is the chicken shwarma, with garlic and chili sauce (I know) and all the salads. Its about £4 and served up by friendly staff who are happy to advise people on anything from their kebab to their rubbish relationships, free of charge.
Damascu is not only a great alternative to your dirty late night kebab but it's great when you're sober too! The authentic Syrian food is tasty and fresh and the decor adds another angle to Brick lane's eclectic mix of cultures.
Kebabs are not my bag no matter how drunk i get i know that they are to be avoided at all costs! But my friends assure me that their kebabs are better than most. I like to stick to the falafel toasted wraps which are gorgeous and i love their Patataharah, which is deep fried potatoes with coriander, garlic & chillies-yum! And this is a mere £3.00-great value! Their Humous Awarma is another recommendation of mine. They do actually have a better selection than most of vegetarian dishes as well. So if you're in the area day or night you should give this place a try.
THE place to see and be seen for the late night snack.
Okay, I'm exaggerating just a bit. This place is a complete dump. But a dump that's packed between the hours of 1-4 AM. And rightfully so: the kebabs are phenomenal. If you find yourself hungry in Shoreditch sometime after the carriage turns into a pumpkin, check it out.
I tried to edit this entry, but it does not seem possible???
ITS NOT IN ENFIELD. ITS IN EAST LONDON.
Come on qype, how can I change it's location?
While the decor is charming and nice enough, the food just doesn't cut it. It's average at best and much of it seems to have been sitting on the counter too long. I've definitely had better than this.
London isn't really a city where you will get many things to eat late at night. So if you are having a really late night at office or if you are hungry after drinking all night, then you usually don't have many places to go ... unless you are near Shoreditch/Spitalfields when there is Damascu Bite for you.
Located close to the intersection of Shoreditch High street and Great Eastern street, its a small but very populat kebab shop. It serves the usual fare of doner, sheesh kebabs and the like ... and they make them very well. In my experience the meat has always been of good quality, the chips were never dry ... so all in all a decent place to eat, especially when you are sloshed and don't really care much about what you are eating :)
Since i work close to Damascu bite, i have gone there for lunch on a couple of occasions. The shop is really cramped ... can probably seat only 2 persons at a time. This may not be much of an issue at 4 AM, but it matters a bit at lunchtime, especially during this long winter.
I also get a feeling that they are severely understaffed. Even during its peak business time, it has only 2 people. They messed up my doner once and filled it with beetroot salad that somebody else asked for. I will never forgive them for that.
But its a very useful place to have around when you are hungry.
In search of shisha we came upon this place with its doors wide open as you can't smoke shisha inside understandably. We ordered the spread mezze, halloumi, and fatoush between 3 of us and were thoroughly satisfied. We ordered fresh juices because they were out of the lemon mint juice and they were really good. They do not serve alcohol here which was a nice change. I would totally go back here in a pinch.
Damascu Bite won the battle of the lamb shawarma. My temporary flatmates have an ongoing battle of which is the best. Damascu namely won on their lamb's flavor and the sauce. Try this late night snack, open until 2am. Now, the question is, how do their other options stack up? Haloumi challenge, anyone?
Disappointing. Not sure where all the love for this place is coming from.
I have walked past here on a number of occasions and have been wanting to try out the food for a while. The interior has the classic doner counter one side, with tables and benches for sitting around the facing wall. The walls are lined with tiles and while it's a bit run down the style is charming enough. This certainly would be a good place to sit and people watch the passers by on Brick Lane. The staff are friendly and helpful. However, disappointingly, the vegetarian/vegan food we ordered was not good. The dish with potatoes (something I have not had before - and can't remember the name) was too greasy and tasted like it had been sitting too long. In fact all four dishes we had tasted a bit old - hummus, babaganoush, falafel and that greasy potato dish - which is odd given how busy this place is apparently. These four dishes, plus two mint teas, came to £18: too much given the overall quality. If the price had been somewhat lower I might have given this three stars, but given the cost, I can only give this two. Perhaps this place would rate higher if it's early morning, you are drunk, and you need a fast food fix, otherwise I would avoid.
Relatively cheap Syrian food (me and my girlfriend spent £15 between us for three or four dishes) that is especially tasty. The hospitable Cockney-Syrian host was helpful and polite. We had two really good chicken shwarmas, the fried potatoes in coriander and garlic, and humous and pitta bread. A nice, clean place, warm service and even our fellow diners were being friendly - though maybe because it was a sunny day: it's amazing what a bit of light and warmth will do to the disposition of the average Brit. I'm definitely coming back here when I'm peckish around Brick Lane and don't feel like getting hounded by the restaurant vultures. In contrast, Damascubite appeared like an oasis (sorry) of calm and relaxation.
Unprepossessing-looking from the outside, Damascu Bite near the top of Brick Lane is a fine place to get your Syria on, should you feel the need. The grilled Haloumi is a favourite, as well as the lentil soup, and I just love the Cardamom tea.
Great little spot for Middle Eastern snackfare. Not a place I'd want to go have a meal, but for some kebabs or hummus and tea, it's not bad.
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