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Monday, February 13, 2006

THE WENLOCK ARMS & ANGEL MANGAL







THE WENLOCK ARMS/ANGEL MANGAL COMBO


a long while ago, way back in the midst of time, Jay Rayner, the restaurant reviewer of The Observer, talented writer, and, let's face it,the acceptable face of modern journalism, joined my big brother and me for supper at The Angel Mangal preceeded by a few at The Wenlock Arms

http://observer.guardian.co.uk/magazine/story/0,11913,958178,00.html

It has been a long while since then and a long time since The Mangal came into its brief moment of fame kicking and screaming and left it just as quickly.

Anyway, I had not been back for a Wenlock/Mangal combo for at least three months, so when my dear chum, Max suggested that it may be a good call, I was all too ready for a few pints and a plate of grilled flesh.

I arrived in The Wenlock about 15 mins or so before Max and was already a couple of pints to the good before he arrived. It was much quieter than on weekends and I was more than content sitting at the bar sipping a pint of mild when he arrived.

Any road up, after a couple more, we headed up to the Mangal on Upper St in Islington. As Max put it perfectly "why don't they go to Gallipoli and hand out leaflets saying don't waste your money on this crap, go to the Mangal" It is that sort of place.

The owner, Mustapha reminds me of a character in a Robert Crais novel. The closest he comes to wild hilarity is a slight twitching at the edges of the mouth. Despite that, he is exceptionally welcoming and the food is always, well, just the bollocks.

Although, I was alarmed to see that, in an attempt to attract the foodie crowd and in honour of molecular gastronomy, they were now offering a little amuse and one of the courses involved mustapha and cohort standing behind you and wafting "lamb air" under your nostrils. Only Joking!

We did the standard Majumdar Bros ordering with Max playing the role of Hermano Primero with some aplomb. Starters of Tarama and Ispanak which, while fine, serve only to distract you while you wait for the main courses. Then a Pide, Turkish Pizza, in this case with sausage. All of this followed by the main event, a mixed grill for two including quail, lamb ribs and chops, chicken wings and thighs, lamb loin and sweet breads. All served with a huge salad and garlic and chilli sauces.

I am ashamed to say that a great deal of it had to be doggy bagged, it being Monday night and all. I really am very sorry

With a mint tea and a comped post prandial, the bill was c£80 inc tip. It was not cheap, but, Max was more than kind and picked up the tab. A jolly nice but unexpected gesture.

I don't know much in life, but I do know that there are few better nights out than The Wenlock Arms and the Angel Mangal combo and long may it continue

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