Mangal 1 information

Mangal is a superbly authentic Turkish restaurant, offering fresh food cooked on an open charcoal grill. With excellent food, value and service, Mangal has established a reputation for a splendid night of Turkish cuisine.

Ranked #1616 of 5241 restaurants in London

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Opening Hours
Opening Hours
Daily 12:00-00:00

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What did you think of Mangal 1?

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Mangal 1 reviews

By S.

I enjoyed a lovely (and very hearty) Turkish meal at Mangal and it was served by extremely friendly staff who clearly put the customer first. I felt we received excellent value for money too which is always nice in London.

I can, however, neither confirm nor deny the rumours that it is run by Mrs Mangal from Neighbours fame. But I hope it is.

By S.

I'd heard some really good things from friends about Mangal so decided to take my girlfriend along one evening.

I can very happily say that everything I heard was true - Mangal is a sublime place to dine and very affordable. If you like Turkish food, definitely go.

By Tute J.

Having seen a good review in the Evening Standard and heard one on BBC London's Robert Elms show, I thought I'd give this place a try...8.00pm on a Saturday night, in we go looking for a table for four. We just about got in the door where around a dozen or so other 'new Dalston' types were all stood too with a waiter assuring all that tables would be ready soon. Half an hour later we (and four others in front of us) were still standing - no seats to wait on in the Mangal! During this time I noticed how cramped the whole place was with tables squeezed alongside the toilet doors and the ocakbasi itself, with all the resulting flames, smoke and sparks. Worst of all though was the table for four beside the continually opening and closing front door - with the dozen-or-so waiting soul all literally standing over it. The people in front of us had the nerve to ask the waiter when did he think a table would be ready. He rolled his eyes and told them they should have booked a table! Time to leave...

A week later I was passing and decided to give it another go. The same scene of people standing in the doorway, waiting for a table, greeted me but all I wanted to do was book a table for four persons for the following week and so slipped by them and spoke to the waiter behind the counter. "Oh no" he replies "we don't take bookings for tables for only four. Too small. Just come. Wait five minutes that's all". I told him I had waited thirty minutes the previous week and HE himself (well, same it was the guy) had advised booking. "No no, wait only five minutes" he says again. I gave up at this point and told him not to worry about it and turned to leave. "Okay, okay" he says, like he was about to start the biggest chore imaginable, and pulls out a book from under the counter. "See" he says, pointing at entries on the page "Six, six, six. Only six. Now you believe?". And put the book away!What I do 'believe' is this has to be the most laughably over-rated kebab shop in t

By Kjsklxkl K.

I had the worst experience ever here. I ordered a chicken shish to takeaway, I specifically wanted it in a container, separate salad, and a slice of bread. I got a wrap instead! After taking it back, I did not complain, and accepted it. While trying to eat it, juices were dripping, and the chicken was uncooked, it all fell apart. I took it back once again, and showed the state of the wrap to the waiter, and asked him whether he'd be able to eat it. I left the wrap there, and told them to keep the money I paid for it and the wrap. I will never go there again, the worst Turkish place I have ever been.

By Victoria M.

We had a really bad experience at Mangal 1.

We were rushed to our table and left for 30 seconds to review the menu. We asked for 5 minutes more to look at the menu and the waiter looked very put out, then came back 20 seconds later and tapped his foot until we ordered.

The food arrived very quickly, a basket of bread pretty much thrown on the table and we were left to it... for 10 minutes.

The waiter came, gave us out bill, advised us that they needed the table and started taking our food away whilst we were still eating!

It was hilarious! We'd been there all of 25 minutes. I spoke to the head waiter on the way out and there was no apology or anything.

The food was OK - nothing special, and the cuts of meat were pretty ordinary.I wont be returning! 1/10.

By Nasir R.

Excellent food but tarnished by the poor and lacklustre service, a result of the good reviews and word of mouth of the last few years. Recently got into a misunderstanding about how many dishes I'd ordered, leading to an argument with the waiter, where a simple apology from him would have sufficed. When the order did arrive, it was thrown onto the table with disdain. All the more disappointing since i was a regular - will not be going again.

By Neil M.

Arcola Street’s eponymous theatre may have recently moved down the road to Ashwin Street but there can be few more dramatic sights in Dalston than the bustle of black-clad waiters around the huge, smoke-billowing grill in Mangal 1 on a busy night (and that’s most of them).

The Venue
Approaching the restaurant down its gloomy side street location, you’ll notice its back-lit red plastic sign – the sort that might just as well be advertising ‘Wines and Spirits’ or ‘Fried Chicken’ – but get a little closer and you’ll catch a glimpse of the smoke-shrouded grill and general hustle and bustle inside. There’s often a cluster of people waiting for tables just inside the doorway. Wait your turn until one of the waiters – exclusively male (at least front of house) – beckons you forward. You’ll see kilim rugs pinned at jaunty angles on the walls, alongside rather old-fashioned images of Turkey (including one of a shawled woman sitting on a donkey amongst shaggy sheep) but most of all you’ll notice that most people’s eyes are turned down, towards their plates: this place is not about the décor.

The Atmosphere
It’s not the warmest of restaurants on a cold night, so try to avoid sitting near the door. Of the two main dining areas, the one nearer to the grill is the more atmospheric. The other has a ‘bar’ area which, in this bring-your-own establishment, serves only as a storage point for the wine glasses the waiters will bring to your table. If you sit within sight of the grill you can watch the guy who sits behind it, tending the kebabs and vegetables as they grill, seemingly unperturbed by the heat and the smoke. He brings to mind a piano player, but he’s flicking over cutlets and chops rather than tickling the ivories: clearly a maestro, all the same.

The staff are not, on the face of it, the friendliest bunch, but this is because they are concentrating on maintaining efficiency in what is frequently a heaving restaurant. If you can muster a bit of Turkish then you’ll make a friend for the evening, and perhaps gain yourself a freebie (see below). The clientele are diverse, which is testament to the simple excellence of the food, whilst the b-y-o policy means there can be the odd boisterous group.

The Food
What kind of food do they specialise in? The clue’s in the name. ‘Mangal’ means something like ‘barbecue’ whilst ‘ocakbasi’ means ‘grillroom’. You get the picture. But what really makes Mangal 1 special is that all the accompaniments and sides to the main, meaty event – the various, excellent lamb, chicken and quail kebabs – are executed flawlessly, too. The basket of bread alone (no charge) is satisfying: soft and warm with a chewy crust. The ‘side’ salad will put many other restaurants to shame.

Try sharing a starter of mix meze (£6), which comes on a large plate, with each of the four components taking up one quarter, like paints on a palette. Each is superb. The yoghurt is thick and rich and scattered with a seasoning of herbs and chilli, the hummus is satisfyingly rough textured, the spicy ezme salad zinging with chives. But the corner of the plate which will likely receive most fork tussling is that occupied by the patlican salata (similar to baba ganoush), whose smoky combination of aubergine and peppers grilled until their flesh barely hold together is, frankly, perfection. One alternative starter is the lahmacun (£2), a thin, pizza-like base topped with minced lamb and onions. These often run out early in the evening.

A main of yogurtlu sis sees layers of lamb sis pieces, and cubes of bread cooked in butter until they have a distinct caramel taste, topped with yoghurt, tomato sauce and a long green chilli, scorched here and there on the grill. The side salad comes as a dense mound of rocket, red cabbage, iceberg lettuce, mooli, gherkins, grated carrot and onions marinated in pomegranate dressing. As an accompaniment to the smoky, buttery main, it could not be bettered, its crunch and tanginess an ideal contrast to the main dish’s richness.

There are four of these yogurtlu dishes cooked in yoghurt, tomato sauce and butter (all £10.50): beyti (ground lamb or chicken cooked on a skewer), sis or chicken (tavuk) sis, and adana köfte. The main kebab section (£9.50-11.00) takes in various cuts of lamb, chicken and quail, or go for one of the mixed kebab plates (£13.50 and £16). Vegetarians should not despair – try that patlican salata (see above) as a main (£6) or one of the other four options, including stuffed vine leaves (£8) and taze fasulye green bean stew (£8).

There are just two desserts: baklava (£3), those dense, syrupy parcels of filo pastry and pistachio nuts which go fantastically well with a short, grainy Turkish coffee, or the sütlaç rice pudding. Flash a bit of Turkish to the waiters and you might get that baklava on the house. It doesn’t cost anything to say tesekkürler (thanks)…

The Drink
Soft drinks run from £1-£2 and include the Turkish yoghurt drink ayran. Teas and coffees are £1.50. Alcohol is bring-your-own and there’s an off licence handily located round the corner on Stoke Newington Road.

Last Word
The theatre may have moved out of little Arcola Street but as long as Mangal 1 keeps doing what it’s doing (and grilling what it’s grilling) then you can be sure the punters will keep treading its boards.

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