I blogged recently about Mangal, one of my most favouritest restaurants in the world and, happily, less than 10 minutes walk from my flat. That was, of course, before the riots of August 2011, which saw Dalston protected by the efforts of the local Turkish community, guarding their businesses foremost, but happily, stopping the looting from spreading west to Newington Green. The Saturday following was declared Thank Turk It's Saturday by a Facebook group, with over 6,000 'attending' and pledging to go and support the local Turkish businesses. I do anyway, but it was nice to have a more altruistic reason to do so.
That day, I went to my other favourite kebaberie, Yeni Umut 2000 on Crossway, where I celebrated last year's birthday and was also home to my first Dalston kebab experience a few years back. It's less well known and written about than the Mangals and is slightly more down at heel. The ocakbasi grill is in the middle of the restaurant with tables around, making for an intense and wonderful experience, with pally service and absolutely beautiful grills, all served with amazing bread and salad. I always order a plate of grilled onions in a tangy sumac dressing as part of the mix – onion breath is just not something I worry about!
Belinda, a superfab workmate and fellow Dalston/Stokeyite, has been banging on at me for ages to try Cafe Z Bar, further up towards Stoke Newington. Her recommended dish was the Mix Meneman, a Turkish scrambled egg dish. I love scrambled eggs and Turkish food, so surely the perfect brunch choice. I went a couple of weekends ago to celebrate the end of dissertation (I've been doing a lot of that actually – it seems to prefix everything I do) and it was worth the wait.
Mix Meneman is basically many eggs, chopped tomatoes, garlic, feta, Turkish lamb sausage and spinach leaves, all scrambled together and served in a metal dish. What can I say? It was delicious, maybe surprisingly runny, probably because it's quite heavy on the tomato, and perfect scooped up with fresh flatbread.
My friends shared some mezze dishes and found them to be tasty and exceedingly good value. My only complaint was that the service was a little surly and the music a bit random (early 00s chart) and loud. But the food/value ration definitely made up for it. I'll be back.