Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Mangal 2 and Farr's School of Dancing, 10th January

Oh January, you accursed month! It's cold and miserable and I am poor and fat after the Christmas excesses. The lack of money is particularly bad this month but my boyfriend was feeling uncharacteristically generous and decided to treat me to a night out as he knew I couldn't really afford one. After much deliberation we settled on finally completing the hat trick of famed Turkish restaurants in Dalston - first Cirrik, then Mangal (1) and now Mangal 2.

Ahhh, are there many more delicious things than lamb fat that has been all crisped up? It is a truly delightful thing to eat when it is still warm and slightly charred. And so, it is hard to go wrong with a bit of grilled lamb. I realise that sentence almost suggests that Mangal 2 have somehow screwed it up, but far from it. 

I already had a soft spot for Mangal 2 due to its famed Twitter account - brutally funny and slightly kebab-obsessed (as you'd expect from a restaurant selling kebabs). The guy who first took our drinks order made me think of whoever runs their Twitter account - I tried ordering a diet coke to parch my thirst but was practically forbade to do so, and cajoled instead into having a proper drink (admittedly I do not often need much persuading). 

With a nod to eating healthily, we decided to split a mixed grill and also have a couple of meze between us - one cold, one hot. We got the aubergine with sweet red pepper and mint as our cold one, and the lahmacun for our hot one. We didn't order any more as we weren't sure what other dishes might come with it.

Sure enough, a bowl of bread was set down, which was warm and soft and which we tried to save until the rest of dinner came in case we needed it for soaking things up. That was difficult. 

Soon after came the aubergine dish - any healthiness negated by the oil it was swimming in. It was very nice but a little on the cold side. Our lahmacun didn't come until near the end of the meal - as our grill was set down the waiter asked us if there was anything else and we had to gently remind him. But arrive it did and it was useful for dipping into what remained. For a warm meze it was a little cold, and not hugely flavoursome.

A plate full of charred onions, peppers, tomato, cucumber and leaves was set down, swimming in that delicious pomegranate dressing. This one had quite a kick to it! I only wish it wasn't quite so thin so that I could soak up more with my meat and bread. Love that stuff.

Our grill consisted of cis kebab, kofte kebab, two chicken wings and another hunk of lamb with that delicious fat I mentioned around the edge, plus a lamb chop. It came complete with a thin bit of bread that the juices soaked through.

And it was all very tasty. The chicken wings in particular, oddly enough, stood out - they were pretty well-sized wings and were very crispy with a sort of dry coating. We asked for some chilli sauce and they also gave us some garlicky sauce which was lovely - strong, but lovely. The chilli sauce was actually quite mild.

But for all this, I have to say that it still didn't quite live up to Cirrik. Especially when the bill came and the onion salad we'd been given was on there! We didn't really mind, just wasn't expecting it as Cirrik ply you with so many free salads and sides.

Mangal II on Urbanspoon

Farr's School of Dancing

We then went for a drink before heading home to the newly opened Farr's School of Dancing, which just happens to be right next to the bus stop that we use to get home from Dalston.

This was quite the funky place. The bar is a central island, and an eclectic mix of seating can be found around the edges - what looked like converted cinema seats, sofas etc. It had a homely, slightly ramshackle feel to it and plenty of space in the middle for dancing later in the night. They were also playing some great music - stuff with a 60s soul vibe that had my shoulders shaking.

And the prices! One round cost us £8 - and that was with me getting a large glass of wine (served in a carafe which I thought was cute). Where else can you get that, even if it was only house wine? For this we could even forgive the surly bartendress her lack of warmth.

I don't think I'd need much of an excuse to go back, but the fact that we will literally have to pass it every time we catch the bus could provide the perfect reason to have 'one for the road'.

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