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  • 44 Commercial Street
    London E1 6LT
    Brick Lane, Shoreditch
  • Transit information Central Circle District Hammersmith & City Metropolitan Get Directions
  • Phone number 020 7426 0700
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Recommended Reviews

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  • 4.0 star rating
    12/2/2014

    Delicious and cute interior. The table was a beautiful large gold disc nicely lit by candle light. We were sat on lovely middle eastern styled cushion bench.
    I had the Lamb Tagine last night with Couscous as a main & we split the Kibbeh as a starter, both were lovely.
    The servers were polite and lovely too, not always easy to find!

    Another plus is that it is open late until 11, so if you have a late night after work or the gym you still have time to have a delicious meal here!

  • 4.0 star rating
    30/1/2014

    What a nice little place!

    First of all, a notice: I know this place presents itself as being turkish, but IMHO this place is far more arabian than turkish (both the ambient and the dishes), so I'm considering it as a lebanese/middle-eastern restaurant.

    If you get a chance to come here (and you really should!) you will first be impressed by the ambient: nice tables, not "over-arabic" (yeah I know it does not make sense, but you know, there are a lot of middle-eastern style restaurants filled with shishas and painting and that sort of stuff, too many things!), if you manage to try to get a spot with sofas and cushions, you'll thank me later!!

    The menu is really ad-hoc: various types of kibbeh (you remember my notice? that's why this is not a turkish place, when I was in Turkey I called them kofte, not kibbeh!) and other usual plates from the arabic peninsula (I remember halloumi, falafel of course, fattoush and several others). I had mosul kibbeh, as I usually love the sweet and sour mixture middle eastern dishes obtain, and I was not disappointed: flavored, sapid and tasty, awesome start!!

    Following the same line, my main course was lamb tajine, served with apricots, bell peppers and zucchini (they are gonna ask you whether you prefer couscous or rice, in my opinion it's a stupid question, you better go for the first one!!). Other choices include guvec and several grilled plates, I'm surely trying something else next time, but the tajine was just perfect: nicely cooked, well spiced (but not hot), genuine, like I had in Jordanian or in Syrian families!

    So.. why only 4/5 and not a prefect score?! well... the only bad thing about this place it's the service: I mean, it's not bad, it's just... impersonal, come on you are running a little restaurants with home cuisine, why you can't smile!?! or at least have two words with people, our waitress was cold as ice!

    Other than that, wonderful place, he directly went to my "will return soon" list! Anybody wanna come?!

  • 4.0 star rating
    20/6/2013
    1 check-in here

    My friends and I visited this place from reviews on time out, and it did not disappoint. It also cost fairly little! Between four of us all having a main course and also 2 starters between us cost around £70 which was unbelievable with wine included.
    Needless to say we were all pretty stuffed after eating too.

    The meat was fab and cooked on a charcoal grill giving it amazing flavour. One of my friends had a tagine and was definitely too much food for 1. It arrived in the traditional tagine pot and smelt fantastic.

    The restaurant was fairly empty when we went and started closing up around 10pm which is a little early when dining with italians but it was not a problem for us. I'm not sure if it is busier at weekends as we went on a thursday.

  • 4.0 star rating
    24/1/2010

    Zengi
    (Pics @ The London Foodie)

    After reading rave reviews by Time Out a couple of weeks ago, Dr G and I decided to visit this newly opened Turkish/Iraq restaurant on Commercial Street, E1. I normally go to Green Lanes, particularly "Antepliler" for my fix of Turkish food, but we were curious to try a local BYO place with some interesting Iraq dishes on their menu.

    The entrance is not the most attractive part of this new restaurant, and I firstly wondered where we would be sitting as there is little sitting area at that level. The basement is where Ali, the owner's son, brought us to, and we were pleased to find a warm and comfortable dining area there.

    The décor is simple but elegant, with white, arched alcoves furnished with colourful cushions & hanging lanterns creating a relaxed and private ambience. I don't normally like eating at lower ground (unless it is Hakkasan) but was pleasantly surprised to find such a well furnished and cosy spot.

    Ali was very attentive, and took great care and time explaining the various dishes on the menu to us. Soon after placing our order, he brought us a basket with freshly stone-baked bread which was hot and delicious.

    The first of the three mezze dishes that we ordered to arrive was "Mutabel" @ £3.50, an aubergine based dip with yoghurt, garlic and tahini. Despite the somewhat unappetising look of the dish, it tasted good and had a creamy and nutty finish from the tahini.

    The second mezze was "Soudah" @ £4, a plate of fried chicken livers with onions, chopped peppers and coriander. I could also taste cinnamon and cayenne pepper in the spicy sauce although not much else. Despite loving chicken livers, I felt that this dish was a bit disappointing, good but not outstanding, and a tad dry.

    The "Mosul Kibbeh" @ £3.50, a traditional dish of northern Iraq was an interesting choice. I had eaten kibbeh many times before but never in this way. Similar to a flattened stuffed croquette, a thin layer of cracked wheat had been filled with spiced meat, almonds and sultanas and fried.

    I really wanted to enjoy this dish but I was slightly underwhelmed by it - I felt that the fried cracked wheat "envelope" was hard and that there was not enough filling to justify all the chewing.

    For main, I went for "Char-grilled Lamb Chops" @ £9.50 - this is my favourite dish at Antepliler, so I ordered this to find how Zengi's version would compare. Zengi's chops were delicious, well-seasoned, and perfectly cooked but unfortunately there was not enough meat on them. At £9.50 I felt that the quantity of meat was a bit stingy, a problem that I never encountered at Antepliler.

    Serving them on a large white plate (when there is not enough food to cover it) did not help either - the accompaniments, salad and rice, were passable - the salad did not look as vibrant and fresh as it could have done but it tasted fine.

    "Dr G's "Zengi Grill" @ £11.50 was a better choice. This consisted of pieces of lamb, kufta (or kofta) lamb shish kebab, and chicken tavouk (pieces). The meat was again well seasoned, very tender and perfectly cooked.

    We were served two small sauces (one garlicky and creamy and another spicy tomato relish) which accompanied the meat well, really bringing out the lamb flavours.  Ali also brought us some delicious pickles which had been made in the premises, and refilled our bread basket at no extra charge.

    I noted in their menu a "Zengi Burger" @ £6.50 which unfortunately I was too full to try. According to the menu, it is made of grilled lamb burger, with sliced falafel and halloumi cheese topped with sweet pepper sauce and pickles in a stone baked sesame roll. It sounds very yummy, and I will most certainly come back for that.

    Ali brought us our bill, and I noted that he accidentally overcharged us on the lamb chops but had forgotten to add the Mosul Kibbeh or the hot bread to the list of items. The total bill was therefore £32 for two excluding service.

    I enjoyed my visit to Zengi and would like to return specially for their Turkish Burger and some of the other Iraq dishes I did not try this time. Ali was knowledgeable and passionate about his food which helped me to appreciate the menu and the food on offer.

    Verdict - Despite the teething problems, in my opinion, Zengi offers good quality food at very reasonable prices. Being a BYO makes it an even more affordable option although portion sizes and quality of accompaniments should be looked at. Excellent service. Recommended.

  • 5.0 star rating
    10/7/2011

    This place has gone through a bit of a transformation over the last year, but one thing that's remained is the fresh, high quality food. I often see the owners of the restaurant laboring away and I can tell, that they really care about this place and the food they serve to their customers.

    Try anything baked from the stone oven; it's baked right before your eyes and very tasty. Also, the hot aubergine mezze with fried onions and yogurt is to die for. I always get the spicy chicken shish and am never disappointed. Also, the new introduction of wines is a good thing, as I always prefer a glass (or two) with dinner.

    Service is not the greatest, but the ambiance and authentic, delicious food make up for any service gaps. End your meal outside with a cuppa mint tea and a shisha...and it's all good!

  • 4.0 star rating
    6/1/2013
    Seated via OpenTable

    Really nice Turkish restaurant. We've been here with a group of friends for a quick dinner before going skating at Tower and everyone enjoyed the experience.

    The food is great particularly the shish ones. The meat is very tender and tastes great, yoghurt and vegetables are nice making the dishes quite succulent.

    The interior is very appealing. From outside this place looks extremely small, but they have 3 really cosy tucked away cabins downstairs giving you privacy. The decor looks Turkish with some very nice looking colourful lamps hanging above the tables.

    The only problem we've noticed was a bit spotty service, the waiter looked really inexperienced and we could've done with a bit more attention.

  • 5.0 star rating
    29/12/2009
    First to Review

    Zengi is a newly-opened Middle Eastern restaurant in Shoreditch, located on Commercial Street, near Whitechapel. It's been open for three months now, and has, evidently, just acquired its alcohol license. Wahey!

    The day I visited the restaurant, Sam, the owner, and also the sole worker there for the day (as it was Boxing Day), was baking bread. I loved freshly-baked bread, so that was quite a treat.

    As there were quite a few of us, and it was our first time there, we spoke to Sam and asked him to just bring us whatever was good. He told us he'd settle the starters, and asked us to choose the mains. I went for arbil kufta and bahmia stew, two of the Iraqi specialties on the menu. I figured I'd go for something unusual rather than go for the typical Turkish dishes. Besides, Sam hails from Iraq, so such dishes should be good, yes?

    I'm happy to report that my assumption was correct.

    The starters - hummous, a bean dish of some kind (fava?), stewed vegetables, falafel and some others - were all good. The main dishes, fantastic. In fact, Sam brought out so much food that we were all incredibly full even before the meat came out!

    By the end of the night, I couldn't take any dessert, and we rounded off the meal with a round of Turkish coffee and tea. If you're a coffee lover, try the Turkish coffee. It's incredible. Almost chocolate-y!

    By this time, I was getting a little worried about the bill. After all, I had no idea how much food we'd actually ordered, and we'd definitely drunk quite a fair bit. And again, I was pleasantly surprised. The bill came up to just about £20 per person inclusive of service. I'd wager each person had eaten probably around £12 worth of food. Freakin' fantastic!

    A wonderful meal, a friendly owner, not-too-bad ambience all for £20. Where in central London can you get that?

    A plus point for some people in my group - although not for everyone - was that because you could smoke shisha inside the restaurant, smokers could go over to that area and smoke without having to go out into the cold.

    • Qype User Minima…
    • London
    • 62 friends
    • 75 reviews
    5.0 star rating
    16/1/2010

    A restaurant to wind down, chill out with your friends/date and enjoy the food. The place is split over two floors (ground and downstairs), serving Turkish/middle eastern food, Efes beer and great atmosphere. The variety of tables give you a good choice whether you want to grab a quick meal and sit by the table or spend an evening on cushions Turkish style. They also have secluded ones under arches for 6 for intimate dinning.
    Appart from the lovely staff the main character to look out for is the very cute chef who tends to run around and fill up your basked with freshly stone-baked bread or just drops a random side dish on your table (free of charge!)
    I asked the chef to serve us a selection of hot and cold mezze and what a lovely feast that was. The bill came up to £30 for 4 beers and vast amount of food... what more can you ask for!

    • Qype User thelon…
    • London
    • 49 friends
    • 73 reviews
    3.0 star rating
    12/1/2010

    Zengi - Pics @ The London Foodie
    (thelondonfoodie.co.uk )

    After reading rave reviews by Time Out a couple of weeks ago, Dr G and I decided to visit this newly opened Turkish/Iraq restaurant on Commercial Street, E1. I normally go to Green Lanes, particularly Antepliler for my fix of Turkish food, but we were curious to try a local BYO place with some interesting Iraq dishes on their menu.

    The entrance is not the most attractive part of this new restaurant, and I firstly wondered where we would be sitting as there is little sitting area at that level. The basement is where Ali, the owner's son, brought us to, and we were pleased to find a warm and comfortable dining area there.

    The décor is simple but elegant, with white, arched alcoves furnished with colourful cushions & hanging lanterns creating a relaxed and private ambience. I don't normally like eating at lower ground (unless it is Hakkasan) but was pleasantly surprised to find such a well furnished and cosy spot.

    Ali was very attentive, and took great care and time explaining the various dishes on the menu to us. Soon after placing our order, he brought us a basket with freshly stone-baked bread which was hot and delicious.

    The first of the three mezze dishes that we ordered to arrive was Mutabel @ £3.50, an aubergine based dip with yoghurt, garlic and tahini. Despite the somewhat unappetising look of the dish, it tasted good and had a creamy and nutty finish from the tahini.

    The second mezze was Soudah @ £4, a plate of fried chicken livers with onions, chopped peppers and coriander. I could also taste cinnamon and cayenne pepper in the spicy sauce although not much else. Despite loving chicken livers, I felt that this dish was a bit disappointing, good but not outstanding, and a tad dry.

    The Mosul Kibbeh @ £3.50, a traditional dish of northern Iraq was an interesting choice. I had eaten kibbeh many times before but never in this way. Similar to a flattened stuffed croquette, a thin layer of cracked wheat had been filled with spiced meat, almonds and sultanas and fried.

    I really wanted to enjoy this dish but I was slightly underwhelmed by it  I felt that the fried cracked wheat envelope was hard and that there was not enough filling to justify all the chewing.

    For main, I went for Char-grilled Lamb Chops @ £9.50 - this is my favourite dish at Antepliler, so I ordered this to find how Zengi's version would compare. Zengi's chops were delicious, well-seasoned, and perfectly cooked but unfortunately there was not enough meat on them. At £9.50 I felt that the quantity of meat was a bit stingy, a problem that I never encountered at Antepliler.

    Serving them on a large white plate (when there is not enough food to cover it) did not help either  the accompaniments, salad and rice, were passable - the salad did not look as vibrant and fresh as it could have done but it tasted fine.

    Dr G's Zengi Grill @ £11.50 was a better choice. This consisted of pieces of lamb, kufta (or kofta) lamb shish kebab, and chicken tavouk (pieces). The meat was again well seasoned, very tender and perfectly cooked.

    We were served two small sauces (one garlicky and creamy and another spicy tomato relish) which accompanied the meat well, really bringing out the lamb flavours. Ali also brought us some delicious pickles which had been made in the premises, and refilled our bread basket at no extra charge.

    I noted in their menu a Zengi Burger @ £6.50 which unfortunately I was too full to try. According to the menu, it is made of grilled lamb burger, with sliced falafel and halloumi cheese topped with sweet pepper sauce and pickles in a stone baked sesame roll. It sounds very yummy, and I will most certainly come back for that.

    Ali brought us our bill, and I noted that he accidentally overcharged us on the lamb chops but had forgotten to add the Mosul Kibbeh or the hot bread to the list of items. The total bill was therefore £32 for two excluding service.

    I enjoyed my visit to Zengi and would like to return specially for their Turkish Burger and some of the other Iraq dishes I did not try this time. Ali was knowledgeable and passionate about his food which helped me to appreciate the menu and the food on offer.

    Verdict - Despite the teething problems, in my opinion, Zengi offers good quality food at very reasonable prices. Being a BYO makes it an even more affordable option although portion sizes and quality of accompaniments should be looked at. Excellent service. Recommended.

  • 3.0 star rating
    6/2/2010

    I am glad Luiz had such a good experience--wish my experience was the same.  The front is deceiving as it looks tiny, but it has multi-levels--in fact I am not even sure how many in fact.  We were seated at a nice table--it had really nice chairs, so it was definitely feeling a little more upscale then the usual Turkish restaurant.  There were also little booths with pillows I noticed which I'd imagine would be fun for a less informal dinner or a date.
    My problem with this place was the very disappointing service.  I didn't feel looked after at all and kept having to hail the waitress down because she would just never drop by.  Furthermore, when the food came out, she had no recollection of who ordered what so she was shouting "chicken shish" and we had to organize the service for her.  Suprisingly the bill came handwritten and when I wanted to put in gratuity via the card machine--being that it was a business dinner for 10+ people, she told me not to bother as she wouldn't get the money anyway.  
    The food was fine--standard Turkish fare, but nothing to ooh and aah about.  She also couldn't keep straight the tea orders, so everyone ended up with mint tea by default.  
    Needs to get some kinks out, but I don't know what Time Out is raving about (as usual!)

    • Qype User __fati…
    • London
    • 62 friends
    • 7 reviews
    5.0 star rating
    16/2/2012

    Absolute Gem!!! I went to Zengi yesterday, a stones throw away from Aldgate East and Whitechapel, and loved everything about this place. This restaurant is quite small, spread over two floors- a small ground floor occupied mostly by the open kitchen and an intimate downstairs. The staff were extremely friendly, happy to chat away with me in arabic and explain all to my companion in English.
    All that aside, the food was delicious! A fusion of Lebanese, Syrian, Iraqi and Turkish cuisine- everything we had was cooked to perfection. We had the Babaghanoush with fresh stone baked bread, Boreg, Shish Tawouk and the Arbil Kofta Shish. I ate to the point where I could no longer move, then to top it off, a mint tea and strawberry and mint sheesha- well a girl needs to digest her food!
    If you want the fancy lebanese restaurants of Mayfair, then this may not hit the spot, but if you want good Arabic/ Turkish food- really good, then this is the one.
    One of the best restaurants I have been to- yes I said it, one of the best! The best bit? I didn't expect it to be so good!

  • 5.0 star rating
    4/8/2013

    Our meals were very fresh tasting and the service was lovely.

    • Qype User dorand…
    • London
    • 0 friends
    • 1 review
    1.0 star rating
    22/1/2010

    Complete disaster, went there as a party of 27 (prebooked) for a birthday celebration. After 1 hrour 30 minutes (with not so much as a bread roll) we all walked out. Drinks, incluiding water had to be requested multiple times, one small table that was served found all bread to be frozen inside, burnt out. These people have NO idea how to run a restaurant.

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