4 Stoke Newington Road N16 8BH
0207 254 7888
AKA: The one with all the grilled meat
The deal: Look, you know what the deal is already. Mangal 2 has been around long before the rise of The Strip, beating all the hipsters and Vice-hounds to the spot when it first opened its doors in 1997. That's pretty much the same amount of time that eccentric art duo Gilbert & George have dined there, without fail, every night too. While that might seem like an extremely mundane way to eat every evening meal, they obviously fell in love with the Turkish ocakbasi that's always fired up at the back of the restaurant, grilling marinated and seasoned meat to perfection. It's still cheap(ish), BYOB and the start of many a good night out in D-town. You'll always hold a special place in our hearts, Mangal 2.
The food: Meat, meat, meat. Oh, and some Turkish meze too. It'd be rude not to start with a plate of mix meze for the table (£12.95) with a selection of humus, tarama, ispanak manca (spinach, garlic and yoghurt dip), saksuka (sort of a cold stew of aubergine, courgette and carrots) and dolma (stuffed vine leaves). Go on, work that warmed flatbread around the plate. The classics never disappoint here and after knocking out thousands of their most popular dishes over their 17-year stretch, they've got it down for the lamb sis kebab (£10.45) and the chicken sis (£9.95). Flavoursome meat with that chargrilled edge, the meal sits on some paper-thin bread that soaks up all those lovely juices. A fresh salad (pepped up by a sprinkling of sumac) is served alongside to balance the meatfeast, as well as grilled onion, chilli and tomato. Maybe Gilbert & George have the right idea after all...
The signature dish: The lamb sis kebab
The chef: Dogan Serindik
When to dine: It's more a case of when not to dine, as it's basically never shut. Mid-week dinner and weekends are most popular - you'll probably need to book a table for Fri and Sat nights.
Damage to pocket: Mains come in at about £11, so with some meze too, it's about £20 a head for dinner.
File under: Mid-week munches, Weekending, Great with mates