Saturday, 13 August 2011

Review: Cyprus Mangal, Pimlico

I've worked in Pimlico for nearly 6 years and have seen a big change in the area - most likely driven by the two successful theatre shows in the area:  Wicked and Bill Elliot.  

Over time there have been a number of new restaurants and cafes open to cater towards the pre-theatre crowd.  Pimlico Fresh replaced an old greasy spoon, The Queens Arms provides the local gastropub fare and the fantastic Cask Pub and Kitchen replacing the old Pimlico Tram with one of the best beer selections in London.

For at least the first 3 years I worked in the area I consistently walked past Cyprus Mangal due to the fact that from the outside it looks like a bog-standard kebab shop with nothing to distinguish it from any other example on the average high-street.  One day I decided to step through the front door to see the fantastic grill and smell the glorious scent of the lamb kofte.  Its such a shame I didn't discover this place earlier.

Cyprus Mangal grill
Putting my cards on the table - this is the only Mangal restaurant i've ever frequented.  I'd love to go to the much loved FM Mangal in Camberwell but never really find myself in that part of town.  Anyway - here is the Karasic kebab in all its glory.

The Lamb Kofte here is particularly good - very highly spiced and flavoursome to the point where my regular dining companion is convinced there must be some pork in there somewhere. In all honesty the lamb and chicken shish can vary depending on each visit but most of the time it is grilled to near perfection.  This is the spicy, meaty hit that I really crave especially if I've been subsisting on vegetables for a few days - mopped up with the delicious side dishes.

Karasic Kebab

Accompaniments are a nice bowl of Turkish bread, rice, some garlic and chilli sauces and a salad of red cabbage, spiced-cucumber and tomato and carrot.  They all hit the spot - especially the chilli that I normally scoff in one bite to set the tone for the meat-fest to follow.

I've subsequently learned that this Mangal (which i understand means 'Grill' in Turkish), is well-known to London's hordes of Black Cab drivers.  Experience has told me that cabbies know their way around London's best cheap eats and I have to concur that this offers the best £10 meal in the area.  I've had most things on the menu but please, please order the Karasic kebab or mixed grill from the menu which includes lamb kofte, lamb shish and chicken shish.  I also really like their lamb chops.  If you're really hungry order the Cyprus Mangal speciality selection which is an even bigger mixed grill however this is almost certainly excessive for lunch!


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