Dalston has become, in the past few years, the centre of cool in London. From the independent shops to the cafes, barbers or restaurants, the whole area feels buzzing of creativity. It feels like a community that wants to live in the area, not only pass by, a community that has settled down and integrated with the locals making sure that the high street, in particular, feels cared for.
The area is full of Turkish and Kurdish shops and businesses. Restaurants, tea houses, sweet shops and food stores live side by side with the new emerging ones and there is a sense of pride that was never more obvious than during the 2011 riots, when the men took over the streets and chased the rioters away, avoiding the scale of violence and destruction that other areas suffered.
In the middle of both worlds, there is a wonderful wonderful place. An ocakbasi called Mangal 1 (the original). In Turkey, ocakbasi are places where you eat when you are out and about, but Mangal is such a great place that you should make it a destination.
The quality of the food is second to none. It is a low key restaurant where you are welcomed by a charcoal grill full of delicious meats to choose from. The wonderful aroma of the food, the freshness of the ingredients, fantastic service and value for money is topped up by the fact that you can bring your own wine! (at no extra charge for corkage)
They have a menu where you can find many delicious things which I must admit to have tried before, however, if you visit this place for the first time, do not have a big breakfast, cycle or walk to the restaurant to make some appetite and order the Mixed Kebab! (See photo above) It is the most delicious plate of meat you will taste in London. It will come with bread and a delicious salad (red lettuce, rocket, green lettuce, gherkins, radish and carrot with a dash of olive oil and lemon)
The final thing I wanted to mention was that if you have some space left… there are delicious baklavas and Turkish coffee to be had… Just saying.
10 Arcola Street, Dalston, London, E8 2DJ
Tel 020 7275 8981
Opening Hours 12:00-00:00 daily
My latest discovery: Quail.
Delicate meat, smoky flavour and a much more suitable portion for me, personally. Delicious
Photograph by Cristina Lanz-Azcarate
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