THIS IS WHAT I CALL TURKISH FOOD!
Here is one way to pick good restaurants that almost always works.
If the restaurant has lots of organ meat dishes on the menu - usually most of the dishes are excellent ---
organ meat, regular meat and vegetarian alike.
Mangal II fits the rule like a glove.
They have all sorts of skewered goodies here including three kinds of alternative lamb (liver, kidneys and sweetbreads).
Everything we had here was top notch.
The lamb liver was one of the most delicate liver dishes you will ever have. Nothing earthy or strong - but with fantastic taste.
(and fundamental for shish restaurants and so often neglected - the meat flies to your table the nanosecond it is taken off the fire. totally totally mission critical.)
there is a fantastic spinach borek - a dish that is much abused in other houses. you usually get standard phyllo dough to fill you up, a bunch of cheese to provide all the taste - and spinach to make tasteless green stuff that adds color.
This borek is cylindrical rather than squares (which totally changes cooking times).
The spinach is unbelievably strong. The phyllo is majorly tasty. And cheese? What cheese?
A completely superior take on the dish.
Accompaniments are surprisingly interesting. A great raw turnip slice, wonderful kebab grilled onions, lamb suet squares used to flavor the livers and presented on their own (a real treat) are the highlights. (Lots of other vegetables of a normal nature round out the plate.)
The turkish coffee is very superior. Great combination of good taste and the necessary mud consistency.
And the prices are VERY reasonable.
Well worth repeat trips.
This was not a dinner date, my date was starving on out way to a party, so what better I thought, than quick bit a tradish homestyle Okabashi.
Och my God! Their service was more meh than Merhaba. The blue tacked reviews obliterating a view in through the steamed up windows, got the better of my curiosity and led me to enquire further in and before I could say OK(abashi) I was shoved in, sat at a really dirty table by the window, having been siphoned in like an unruly goat due to the gang hustling in behind me. I asked if I could sit nearer where it was warmer and less crowded where the door wasn't opened every 2 seconds for some diner to get a fix of a clove rollie. I wanted to be nearer a table near to where the food was coming from. I love a good foogle (Food Ogle) at what's coming from the kitchen you see, but NO! was the answer.
I care not if Gilbert and George like slumming it with us regular folk, they certainly wouldn't appreciate being sat in a draught. I also got the previous diners dirty crumbs wiped into my lap by the waiter when I asked if he could spruce the place up before I ordered. If only I had Cara's thigh gap, I'd have not minded, the bits would have collected on the sticky floor, but I was wearing a nice frock which caught the crumbs and lumps of minced lamb left over in my lap. I don't know what inspired me to order Turkish sausage, but it was like a big dry oily pepperami, I'm not that sort of girl, it's not what I expected. I don't know why I found it harder than usual to concentrate on what to order in the olfactory ambience of what smelled like cumin escaping a butchers armpit.
Great turkish BBQ restaurant. The meat is superb and comes with a great salad. The Lamb Chop is delcious. Gets very busy in the evening (and loud) but Sat and Sun pm is normally reasonably quiet and easy to get a table.
However , smoke are bad all around .
Wow, what a wonderful meal that was! We got quite a selection to share from the starter menu which is full of really interesting dishes, and a couple of mains just cause our eyes were sort of bigger that our bellies could ever be when we got a look at that scrumptuous menu. Excellent service from very friendly staff. Down-to-eath feel to the place and prices are pretty reasonable to boot. Get in and give it a go!
I too have eaten in this great restaurant - it has to be one of the best Turkish places I've ever tried! A good selection of different dishes, all with an authentic taste, and the huge flaming grill is centrepoint of the restaurant, so you can see you food being cooked. The smells created make the mouth water, so starters are a necessity, to avoid drowning! It's where I take people wanting to try proper Turkish food, not a kebab on a late Fri/Sat night.
I can confirm Gilbert and George use this place - my mate n I were sat next to them the last time I was eating there. They even came over and thanked us for talking about them!
The only problem with living in an area like Hackney with such an abundance of great, affordable world cuisine is that it makes English food seem about as appealing as day old spotted dick. I am a sucker for a Sunday roast, but for every other day of the week I eat West Indian, Nigerian and Turkish.
Mangal II is the crowning glory of East London's Turkish restaurants and displays this fact proudly on a window adorned with so many paper clippings it looks sponsored by Time Out. The menu is vast and everything on it (I go there a lot) is delicious, extra special is the vegetarian moussaka.
It's a traditional ocakbasi restaurant with all the delicious meats and sauces sizzling away on hotplates and a big flame grill. This can be distracting when especially hungry, I have found myself on dates here, staring, drooling, nostrils flaring at the chefs, completely ignoring which ever poor soul I roped in to my feeding frenzy. This is one of my favourite restaurants in London, its perfect in every way and if you don't believe me, just ask Gilbert and George.
I find the meat top notch. The mix grill is lovely as is the lahmacun (Turkish Pizza).
The waiters are friendly and attentive, and the service is fast. But most importantly of all, the food is very good. The varied selection of hot and cold starters in particular is significantly better than local restaurants.
Try the grilled onion salad and the mix meze starters. Of the grills, the portions are fair, the meat well seasoned, and the salad that accompanies it is lovely. They also do other salads such as the delicious ezme salad which I am particularly fond of. I've been to other local restaurants. Some are good, some not so good. A lot are cheaper.
But Mangal 2 seems to get the crowds in due to their superior food and service.
Yet to find another place in London that has such delicious Turkish meat. Chicken wings are amazing. The mixed grill is lovely and enough for two. Decor is a bit tired but you really go here for the authentic food. Loosen your belt!
HortonJ describes this place as "pretty good" I would describe it as a "mighty fine establishment".
Much like its sibling restaurant around the corner, with open grill and tasty food, it rocks the taste buds and fills the paunch of any Hackney-eyed villain that decides to rock up and have his fill.
Somehow I manage to turn up at this place whenever I am completely famished, and without fail they manage to stuff me full to the point of bursting, without managing to completely decimate the contents of my wallet.
Gilbert and George or not, I would still rock up here whenever I need a hearty meal for 1 or more.
My thoughts on this place are similar to those of hortonj in a previous review. Like most of the local Turkish places it's good for carnivores. Portions are generous, staff are hospitable but I would not give it the four stars that others in the area deserve but a respectable three.
Yes it is true Gilbert and George come here for their tea, pretty often.
Personally, I would expect such radical artists to have more wide ranging food tastes. Saturday's, eat vegetables scraped off the floor after the local Ridley Road market has ended for the day. Sunday, roast up some animal droppings into a meatloaf style dish and serve to invited unwitting art critics. Monday's eat only food bought ironically from Iceland etc etc.
It just goes to show you can be highly lauded, iconoclastic, modern artists, creating new paradigms AND have the familiar, enjoyable creature comforts that us lesser mortals value on this journey through life.
Really good Turkish cuisine.
Ate here on 16 June 2012. Main issue was the time we had to wait for our main courses to arrive - 50 minutes. The restaurant was very busy but I have eaten in other equally busy Turkish restaurants in Green Lanes, Haringey, and the wait was nowhere near that long. We had finished our drinks and were drumming our fingers by the time the kebabs arrived. Also, small point but out of interest, the service I received at the other kebab restaurant I ate in recently, in Green Lanes, was friendly and very polite; at Mangal 2 it was just ok, no real effort in terms of politeness or warmth, though.
As for the food, in short, quality fine, the meat was of undeniably good quality, the bread was ok, have had better, the salad was nice, but overall, not as stunning as I would have believe from the reviews on this site. And I have to say that the amount of meat served up was quite mean, for £9.45, which got me only around 6 pieces of lamb in my sis kebab. I don't know why restaurants do this, as all such a mean spirit does is leave the customer feeling short-changed and less likely to return. In our case we won't be returning.
Not having been to this restaurant before, I can't say for certain, but my instinct is that the service is not what it should be and the portions a little mean because it is now a much celebrated Turkish resturant (such celebrity no doubt gained via having two well-known artists eat there every day, and perhaps also via its uber-trendy Dalston location, where hip young things leap into fashionable eateries without perhaps stopping to think about just what they are getting for their £).....and thus I would say they might be resting on their laurels somewhat. Just a thought.
Maybe there's been too much praise for this place and it's gone to their heads. The last couple of times I've been the service has been on the unacceptable side of slow. The food was good and the portions generous, but more than once the excellent vegetable moussaka wasn't heated through properly. Mixed mezze starters were really good and the plentiful warm bread delicious. All in all, though, I'd rather be in one of the numerous other Turkish restaurants in the area. Stone Cave is my current fave, despite the bizarre decor.
i love that they grill the meats, fish and veg to-order. i got the grilled seabass, which came w/ a side of salad, and it was fabulous. we also got the mezze starter, and it came w/ a variety of dips and warm pita bread. everything was fresh and healthy tasting and a great way to end my london trip.
Big fan of this place, but I haven't tried the others in the area so I don't have anything to comare it to. Casual atmosphere, friendly service, endless pita, and you know it's being cooked just for you as you'll come out of there smelling of grilled meat! Starting with hummous and dolmas is the way to go. You can easily share one of the meat dishes with a friend as they come on two massive skewers with sides. And the rice they come with is awesome.
This place is pretty good. Although it's possibly a tiny bit bright, so a bit useless for the more romantically inclined (i.e crap for a date, particularily with that spot on your chin rearing it's head), the food in here is tasty and the staff keen and friendly, even though i sometimes find myself only ordering a mixed meze starter and SHARING it! Those things are massive, and very delicious. One gripe might be that vegetarians get a pretty rough deal, as a part from the meze all you can order is aubergine, aubergine, or aubergine, BUT if you're a meat eater or art lover this is balanced out by the fact that it is virtually impossible to go in here without clapping eyes on Gilbert & George, who eat here EVERY day. You can tell when they come in because pretty much all the staff rush out from the kitchen and behind the counter to go and glad hand them! EVERY DAY!!!
The first thing that you notice about this Turkish restaurant is the multitude of newspaper and magazine cutouts that take up a large proportion of the window. Whilst one or two is pretty commonplace, every eatery likes to show its accolades, Mangal boasts a lot more than most. With a menu brimming with Turkish feasts, kebabs, meze staples (hummus, tabbouleh, babaganush, olives etc) and fantastic vegetarian options (vegetable moussaka with a mountain of brown rice and salad a particular favourite) this place is very laid back and always busy; also worth a mention is that two Brit Art institutions eat here every single day and can be seen tucking into to their kebabs. The original Mangal is situated up the road, but it's this branch that really stands out. The quality of the meat and preparation is what places this above the multitude of other Turkish diners in the area, the prices are very reasonable (around £7 for a large main, meze starters are around £3 each), and it's just such a novelty to eat a tasty kebab with a knife and fork!
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