This weekend, The Heid and I went off-piste for our Sunday lunch, abandoning all thoughts of roast chicken or rice pudding and the like in favour of a kebab. It might sound shocking – and certainly not the sort of behaviour one would expect from a discerning food blogger (that’s me) – but, really, it’s not what it sounds like.
Firstly, this kebab did not follow an all-night drinking session. In fact, we’d just been for a snowy walk on Wormwood Scrubs with our puppy Scrabble (oh the smugness!). Secondly, this wasn’t your average scummy old kebab joint. It was Fez Mangal, a relatively new, and most welcome, addition to Ladbroke Grove (and one, incidentally, that goes a long way to making up for the scummy old kebab I ate after an all-night drinking session some years ago.)
Fez Mangal is a takeaway and eat-in establishment that promises (and delivers) traditional Turkish BBQ kebabs in a friendly, relaxed setting. Strings of dried chilli peppers hang in the window, shish kebabs, whole fish and marinated lamb chops are cooked over an open grill, and the two meaty spits that rotate behind the counter are neither greasy nor reconstituted, but fresh, wholesome and tempting. Meanwhile, a huge copper chimney over the grill is practical and tasteful, the tables and chairs are simple yet comfortable and the atmosphere is cosy and warm. It’s just what the doctor ordered when one is cold, hungry and trailing snow.
We tucked into a table near the back alongside a Turkish family (good sign) and didn’t hang about ordering. A mixed mezze starter consisted of creamy hummous, tabbouleh, tzatziki and a tomatoey thing (not sure what it’s called, yummy nonetheless), which we ate with warm and perfectly browned flat breads. To follow, my chicken shish kebab – well spiced on a bed of tomato sauce and with a generous dollop of yoghurt on top – offered a fine excuse to keep dunking more of the delicious bread. The Heid said his lamb kebab was tender and that you could “really taste the marinade.”
We didn’t drink, but it was good to know that, had we wanted to, there’s no charge for corkage meaning more money in the pot for a nice bottle. Meanwhile, the service was excellent – friendly, attentive and understated. Dizzy with goodwill (the way to a man’s heart really is through his stomach), The Heid over-tipped (£5 for a £25 lunch) in return for which a charming waiter brought us two free baklava – to date, the best I’ve ever eaten – and cemented Fez Mangal as a place for which it was well worth missing Sunday roast.
104 Ladbroke Grove
T: 0207 229 3010