Sunday, 30 September 2012

FM Mangal, Camberwell

I've never been much good at Turkish food. Every single time I've been to an ocakbasi, without fail, I've stuffed myself silly on mezze, filling up on hummous and taramasalta, those grilled breads shovelling various dips and paste until I'm too full for my main course. The grilled meats take a back seat while I forlornly pick at them, willing my digestive system to hurry up and do it's thing. 

The same was almost true of when I visited FM Mangal, in Camberwell. A favourite of the critics, I'd heard much of the grilled onions in magic sauce (top photo). We managed to refrain from over-ordering, probably much down to Cherry who had been before. She carefully guided me towards one shared starter and a shared main. I was doubtful - are we sure we don't want more? - she was confident, and I am pleased I took heed. 

Those grilled onions, complimentary at the beginning of the meal, were indeed magic. Charred and slightly bitter, they bathed in a sweet and sour sauce that was pink from pomegranate. Thin breads dusted with spice and glistening with fat were excellent dunkers. 

Grilled aubergines were slathered with a spicy tomato sauce. Falling apart with tenderness, they were a good example of a well-treated aubergine. Our mixed grill main had tiny little lamb ribs, succulent chicken wings, a chop and a kofte or two. The rice, plump with butter finished us off. 

We both walked away with change from a £20, after a couple shots of Amaretto-like liqueur on the house; the straight-forward but smiling waitresses waved us off into the night. It's not going to win any Michelin stars, but I'm pretty damn pleased to have a local that serves me a magic sauce - and no, they won't give you the recipe. 

FM Mangal
54 Camberwell Church Street
London SE5 8QZ 

020 7701 6677

FM Mangal on Urbanspoon


Miss Whiplash said...

The magic sauce is also alive and well in Hackney :)

I also have the over ordering/mezze problem with Turkish - am getting better at it but it is HARD.

I think the key is to go with a LOT of friends...

I still lust after the Special Mixed Grill at Cirrik - NEED MORE PEOPLE!

Richard Elliot said...

I was there two weeks ago with friends and found the food a bit mixed. While those magic onions and food which came cooked over the coals was in the main great, everything else was a bit mixed.

It seems impossible to get into Meze Mangal these days, but it's still my favourite Turkish so far in London.

Kavey said...

We had a short-lived Turkish place near my house, that served those same onions, unbelievably delicious, I could have eaten 10 bowls of them.
Unfortunately, they closed after a few weeks, probably because it took them absolutely AGES to get food out, even with only one or two customers. Last time we went, we had a few starters like grilled halloumi and still, it took them about 40 minutes to bring even the first thing out. We gave them a few chances but did give up after that, as it was same every time.
So now I need to go further afield for magic onions.

Yogi Kitchen said...

Try out a couple of places on Green Lanes some time. I know it's a bit far, but I thin they really are the best up there. My favourites are Antepiler and then there is a place a few doors down that's always packed and I forget the name of.

There is also an Antepiler on Upper St now and they serve a Mezze-platter for about a tenner which (when shared between at least 2) is one sure-fire way not to leave feeling ridiculously full. That and not eating your own weight in the flatbreads, which is easy to do..

Unknown said...

*magic sauce swoon*

Hollow Legs said...

Miss Whiplash - I've never had it in Hackney, not when I've been to Cirrik Bros. And yes, lots of people sounds like the best plan!

Richard - Ah, shame about the other stuff. What was it that wasn't so good? I haven't been to Meze Mangal in a while, but glad to hear they're doing well.

Kavey - Ah, shame indeed. But worth a trip for magic sauce!

Keen on Food - I've been to a few on Green Lanes and they are good. But far from me.

Donald - *passes smelling salts*

Blonde said...

Oh yum. I think that might just be enough to tempt me out of Brixton...

Katie said...

Mmm special onions in special pink sauce. I substitute it for pomegranate molasses straight out of the bottle at home over BBQ/griddled onions: it's not far off.

Richard Elliot said...

Lizzie - the main disappointment was the warm mixed meze. I really liked the salty haloumi, but everything else was a bit disappointing and I have a suspicion some of it might have been frozen and then deep fried.

Tang said...

Didn't see this post until now! We could have eaten a lot more tbh :)

O magic magic magic sauce I want want you so bad o yeah~