During the last tube strike it became apparent that I was lacking some good karma in this world for I chose a real crap place for us to eat.
So I made amends, I helped old ladies across roads, even though they walked back across the road swearing at me, I gave up my seat on the tube to pregnant women one stop before I got off. But it felt like I was making amends.
So when I woke up last Monday and saw again that the Piccadilly line was suspended I knew it was going to be a good day. And yes it was.
The last time we managed to wriggle our way out of babysitting duties, was the day we were shown where Mangal Ocakbasi was. I’m still not sure how much longer we can get out of those duties. But the longer the better if you ask me. We’re not cut out for looking after small living things. Just look at the plants that have died in our care.
The London district of Dalston is Turkish food heaven. If you are not into carbonised grilled meats, lovely warm bread, zingy salads then give Dalston and especially Mangal 1 a big miss.
It’s like any small family restaurant that you would find in a town across Turkey, but thankfully this one is damn close to my house. There is a god in this world and he’s called Ocakbasi.
Mangal 1, in comparison with its posh sister Mangal 2 is simply decorated and set out. Old waiters trundle between the grill and the wooden tables delivering plate after plate of great food.
Lunch was coming to an end when we turned up, so we thought we’d make it easy for the guys and order the mixed meze and the mixed grill. This would showcase everything good the place had to offer. Plus the grill master with his arsenal of skewers was about to show us what he was made of.
The mixed meze had all those great Turkish starters that you’d expect to find on any menu, and probably do. Cacik, hummus, patlican salata and an ezme salata. All were fantastic, although I am not particularly keen on hummus with tahini as it’s the lazy way out. Hummus should be without tahini, as it’s a lesson in seasoning.
The mixed grill was incredible. All the meats were juicy and grilled expertly. Those hot coals of the grill imparted a lovely smoky taste on all the different meats. Those lamb cutlets were the best of show by far.
Oh I forgot to mention that hot Turkish bread we had given to us as we sat down. The waiter knew what I liked and gave it to me instantly. Good guy.
I would return just for the bread, but everything else was perfect and brill to eat, that I’ll be doing it all over again very soon. Next time the quail, this will show me that this grill master is just that. A master of the grill.