Mangal Ocakbasi, Dalston

This week The Italian gets excited about Turkish food.

“My friend Anthony the artist said to me one night, “I’ve got to take you to this Turkish place in Dalston, you’ll LOVE it! If you think you’ve tasted good Turkish – wait until I take you to this place. In fact, let’s go there right now!”

His face was all lit up, so naturally I got really excited, and five minutes later we were in the car heading for Dalston High Street. We turned into this anonymous little side street and ten yards away was a smallish looking non-descript place with a backlit sign in the window – Mangal.

An army of smiling, Turkish waiters in matching black outfits greeted us like a pair of returning prodigal sons. To our left was a refrigerated display case filled with meats and vegetables skewered and ready for grilling. Beside this was a massive Turkish grill loaded with sizzling meats and veg, billowing smoke was being sucked up the extractor chute. The smell was fantastic!

We were ushered through an archway to one of many tables tightly arranged in a very modest dining room. The atmosphere was casual and light, busy and chatty. The service was fast, friendly, attentive and precise. The menu was extensive; with meze, lahmacun pizzas, and desserts.

Clockwise from front: Cacik, humus, and the best Patlican Salata The Italian's ever eaten.

We ordered some Patlican Salata to start and the Adana Kebab as a main. The Patlican Salata was incredible! Grilled aubergines, peppers, yoghurt and butter sauce. Honestly the best I’ve had ever! Smokey and rich, yum. Then came the kebabs. Yeah yeah, I hear you say – what’s the big deal about a kebab? Trust me, this was the real stuff. When the kebabs arrived they were hanging off the plates, which were heaped with Mangal’s benchmark salad, chopped exquisitely fine and sprinkled with zesty sumac. Fresh lean lamb mince marinated with herbs and spices, onions, peppers, fresh parsley and just bursting with out of this world flavour, mouthful after juicy mouthful. We were too stuffed to even think about dessert.”

Mangal Ocakbasi doesn’t have a licence but you can bring your own booze and they don’t charge for corkage. Mains are about £9 – £13.

Mangal Ocakbasi

10 Arcola Street London E8 2DJ
020 7275 8981
Meals served noon – midnight daily
Dalston Kingsland rail, 67, 76, 149, 243 bus


  1. I love the animated writing of Lumpy Mash! Makes me wish I lived in London.

We'd love to know what you think