Thursday, 13 August 2009

Turkey

Mangal
27 Stoke Newington Road
Hackney
020 7254 6999

There are dozens of Turkish places in Dalston and Stoke Newington, and many of them are called Mangal. We naturally gravitated to the mangiest, mankiest Mangal of all - a low-rent, low-fidelity, low-priced joint with a dilapidated fa├žade and n shortage of empty tables at peak feeding time.

But I liked the fact that this was no Mehmet of all trades; Mangal's menu only offers one thing - save for a couple of ill-advised stews - and that's pide.

Pide is not Turkish pizza - that's lahmacun. It's a more substantial offering, a canoe-shaped flatbread with curved edges, cooked in a wood-fired oven. Only a third of Mangal's offerings involve cheese. Instead, lamb, chicken, spinach and sausage dominate proceedings, while green peppers and mushrooms pop up on many a pide. Everything costs £5, or £4 to take away. My ispanakli yumartali (pictured) was the pick of our pair, with spinach, onions and eggs creating a tangly topping, while the kusbasili mantarli combined lamb, mushrooms and green peppers to juicy effect.

In terms of atmosphere, there's an oven, two pictures on the wall, four tables and two blokes making the stuff from scratch. It's bare bones, and that's just fine by me.

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