ANATOLIA: COME TO ME MY LOVE AT LAST I'VE FOUND YOU
Well, it’s been two long years, but finally DH have found somewhere to at least partly fill the void left by the demise of our favourite Ockabasi de choix, the blessed Angel Mangal.
In that two years we have subject ourselves to plates of charred meat, limp salads and more desiccated testicles than you would find in the archives of The Science Museum. It is fair to say that we were beginning to despair of ever finding anywhere to come close to the superlative platters of flesh offered up by our old chum, Mustapha.
After returning to London from leafy Rotherham in the early morning, unpacking, repacking for L.A and hitting the gym for a much needed workout, I was not in the mood for leftovers and certainly not in the mood to cook.
So, with HP, who needed little persuading, in tow, we headed out to Hackney, Mare St to be more precise and a small place that had been on our list for some time, Anatolia.
But first, of course, a pre-supper pint or two, in this case served up with considerable charm at The Pembury Tavern, a cavernous pub on Amhurst St that serves some of the very best real ale in London and definitely the best pork scratchings. What the pub lacks in ambience, it makes up for in the quality of its beer and two assorted pints each from Milton Brewery in Cambridgeshire, fortified us against the cold night air and for the short walk back to Anatolia.
It’s pleasingly canteen like and the grill was in full flame with someone else’s supper as we took a table and looked at the short menu. There is never much to be discussed for DH when it comes to Turkish grilling and, alongside a few starters, our mixed grill with a side order of quail was soon sizzling away atop the hot coals.
Starters were sizable and better than most with Ispanak, Tarama and Patlican, scooped up with warm flat bread, distracting us until our equally sizable platter of grilled goodies was placed before us with a side plate of salad and bowls of garlic and chilli sauce.
The grilling was spot on, with the juices still bubbling happily on our first bites of lamb chop and, like all good purveyors of grilled meats, they were not backward with the salt without which all the flavour stays locked inside its fleshy prison. Adana were suitably spicy and the lamb ribs benefited from a long strip of fat to keep the meat moist.
It wasn’t quite Angel Mangal, the addition of dry slices from the revolving doner in the take-away section added little and the single sweetbread and lambs testicle, while very tasty indeed, merely left us both wishing we had placed an order for a side dish of them. But, these are minor complaints for one of the best flesh fests you will find without googling “collegeamateurs.com” and at £40 including service and a charge of £3.50 for corkage on a bottle of Spanish something or other, very good value indeed.
We still haven’t forgotten Mustapha, but we’ll definitely be going back to Anatolia and very probably to The Pembury Tavern beforehand.