FOOD & DRINK: Bites
Saturday 18 December 1999
Cafe Istanbul, 79 Bridge Street, Manchester (0161-833 9942). Mon-Fri lunch and dinner, Sat noon-11.30pm, Sun dinner. Smartest of Manchester's Turkish restaurants, this also has a two-decade pedigree and a reputation that makes it ever popular, though prices are a touch higher than usual, with some main courses approaching pounds 10. Hardly extortionate for dishes that extend beyond the conventional repertoire to take in fishcakes with mango and white wine sauce, and char-grilled seabass with pink peppercorns and dill.
Beyoglu, 50 Battersea Park Road, London SW11 (0171-627 2052). Daily dinner. An appealing atmosphere, with an especially intimate basement, is concealed behind an unassuming exterior. The usual dishes are rounded up in a mixed meze for pounds 4. Main courses major on the grill - kidneys or kofte for pounds 5, lamb chops for pounds 6.50 and the mighty mixed grill, including quail, for pounds 9: all perfectly cooked.
Tas, 33 The Cut, London SE1 (0171-928 2111). Mon-Sat noon-11.30pm, Sun noon-10.30pm. Tas moves Turkish cuisine on, with zingily flavoured additions to the usual menu, such as midye corbasi (mussel, celery, coriander and ginger soup), and humus kavurma (chickpea puree with lamb and pine kernels). There are casseroles, as well as grills and lots of fish. Prices aren't high: set menus from pounds 6.45.
Angel Mangal Ocakbasi, 139 Upper Street, London N1 (0171-359 7777). Daily noon-midnight. The two Mangal restaurants in Stoke Newington are renowned for wonderful food at amazingly low prices. Now the family have brought their expertise at ocakbasi cooking (on an open barbecue pit of glowing coals) to Islington. Fresh meat is displayed in a cabinet: three gorgeously grilled lamb chops for pounds 6, or kidneys and sweetbreads and all manner of meat. Finely chopped salads come sprinkled with sumac for a spicy lift; meze come with plenty of fresh pide bread.
Istanbul Iskembecisi, 9 Stoke Newington Road, London N16 (0171-254 7291). Daily noon-5am. This welcome-to-everyone restaurant began life several years ago as a glorified version of an Istanbul soup shop - serving restorative broth to nocturnal Turks and others in search of civilised late-night sustenance. Tripe (iskembe) in various forms, especially soup, is the speciality. But the usual meze and grills are available alongside the rarer dishes - at prices that belie the quality. Mixed meze is pounds 4.50, most main courses under pounds 8.
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