Every few months, BW and I have a reflection on our current state of life: what we’re happy with, what can be improved, and our future plans. Whilst he’s become better with his crazy work hours and I’ve started to exercise more regularly, there was one thing that was holding us back from a healthy lifestyle and something I was dreading to face. It was time to have a long, hard look at our (mostly mine) ridiculously unhealthy diet that was seriously lacking in anything green. BW decided that a full detox was in order, so no more sugar, coffee, and definitely no red-meat. How could he do this to me?! How were we going to survive?! But with Thailand in three weeks, he was really determined to do this, and so we started the week off with a healthy soup and salmon dinner.
Come Tuesday, and Haloodiefoodie asked if we wanted to join him at Mangal 1 – a popular Turkish restaurant that I have been dying to go to for ages. Should I wait until after Thailand? But that’s so far away! Maybe I can have the chicken? Yeah right, I wanted the real stuff. Well, needless to say, we ended up making the journey down to Stokey to get stuck into a meat feast – oops!
Mangal 1 has been open since forever, and is known to be a favourite spot amongst celebrity chefs like Jamie Oliver, Rick Stein, and Yotam Ottolenghi. The place was super busy when we went on a Tuesday night, and after a short wait, we were given a table for four. It wasn’t long before we got ordering and the food speedily arrived.
This definitely doesn’t win any awards for it’s looks, but boy was it tasty. Chopped, smoky aubergines that had been mixed with blistered peppers, tomatoes, and coriander, and served with a dollop of yoghurt and a generous helping of buttery sauce. I’m not kidding, melted butter is poured on top – my dream come true! The dish was fantastic, full of a lovely smoky flavour, and a great start to the our meal ahead.
A yoghurt-based dip which had been infused with cucumbers and garlic. It was refreshing, creamy and good for dunking the house bread into, whilst also complementing the meat dishes nicely.
A portion of grilled chicken shish cubes which were in dire need of some seasoning, but were cooked very well and remained succulent.
These deliciously juicy lamb chops came fresh off the charcoal pit, and had a mouth-melting layer of fat attached. They were instantly polished off and we almost went for round two, until the mixed kebab arrived!
I was a little underwhelmed when the mixed grill came as I had imagined the plate to be packed full of goodies, but it was good enough for us to all have a taster of everything Mangal 1 had to offer. The adana kebab was my favourite out of everything; it was simply flavoured but the numerous specks of fat had melted away whilst it was cooking on the grill and made it incredibly succulent and tasty. The lamb shish cubes were also very tender, as were the lamb chops. The quail had a good amount to char to add a smokiness to the meat, and was much better than the chicken wing. The least enjoyable was the round lamb chop which I had had high expectations for; it was overcooked and quite tough to eat.
The bill amounted to £50 for 4 people, so £12.50 each, including drinks, sides, and service. Definitely an affordable meal, and is ideal for a boys night out or even just a casual family dinner on the weekend.
Although the food was good, I wasn’t wow-ed by what I had eaten and perhaps my expectations were a little too high. However, the fault lies with me as I should know that ocakbasies mainly focus on their grilled meats and do not heavily season beforehand. Given that there are numerous Turkish joints to be discovered in the area, it may be a while before I visit Mangal 1 again, but it’s definitely worth a try if you’re around.
This is a CASH-ONLY restaurant!