Simply the best Turkish Ocak Basi Restaurant in East London!
In Turkey ocakbasi restaurants are where people eat when they're out, as opposed to places to go out to eat at.
Mangal was established in 1990 and it is a typical ocakbasi, no menu, a refigerated display of raw kebabs, a steaming, sizzling ocak grill, a hot table laden with simmering stews and braises. Hot pide and sac breads accompany starters of lentil soup or garlicky cacik, and ezme is a winning dish of roasted aubergine mashed with olive oil , fresh tomato, green herbs and hot pepper.
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"With its legendary reputation for grills, Mangal doesn’t bother with frills. It has started producing a takeaway menu, but diners are asked to choose from the long list of kebabs above the counter before taking their seats (this can occasionally mean queuing). The interior is long, dominated on one side by the counter and the ocakbaşı grill. Tiled walls feature traditional kilim mats preserved in frames of various dimensions. The functional tables have plain wooden tops and metal legs, like old school desks. More starters are now available, including lahmacun, houmous and cacik. That’s all to the good, but it’s the grills that have earned Mangal a hallowed status – and they’re worthy of it. A long lamb beyti hung off the edges of our plate and came with chopped leaf salad and bread (both thick fresh pide and fine saç bread). Fresh herbs and spices could clearly be seen and tasted in the minced lamb after it had been sliced: excellent. The slow evolution of Mangal is commendable, but don’t expect the chefs to stray too far from the grill. Nor should they."
Mangal is a superbly authentic Turkish restaurant, offering fresh food cooked on an open charcoal grill. With excellent food, value and service, Mangal has established a reputation for a splendid night of Turkish cuisine.