Meze Mangal, Lewisham Way

With all the positive comments about Meze Mangal on Brockley Central, it's about time we posted a proper review. Brockley Jon made his way down last night.

We've lost count of the number of times we've visited Meze Mangal. This probably has a lot to do with the fact that it's the only decent restaurant on the St. Johns side of Brockley, but it also says a lot about how good their food is (okay, let's get it straight from the start so that no-one accuses us of bias or bribery - we like this place!).

From the outside the frontage is quite unassuming, apart from the dirty great container sat in the car park (more on this soon), and it's a very unlikely location for what is easily a candidate for the best restaurant in the area.

We hadn't booked, but decided to risk it on a Thursday at 7.30, and arrived to a buzzing restaurant and a sea of "reserved" signs on tables - showing just how popular it is. No matter, as the staff were happy to try and fit us in, moving their furniture around and conjuring up a table for our party of three by the bar opposite the grill. I would say that more fussy Brockley folk might do best to avoid sitting next to the grill as it is a bit warm, and can be smoky, despite the industrial size cooker hood. Others might say it just enhances the experience!

The atmosphere once seated was friendly and relaxed. It really does feel a bit like you're on holiday, especially when there are Turkish families nattering around you, and friends of the staff pop in for a quick snack.

We opted for the Meze platter for two to start with, which will happily feed three, especially if you opt for the amazing Lahmacun Turkish pizza as your choice of hot starter. As always, freshly baked bread was served on the side.

For drinks, the authentic Turkish house wine is a safe bet and at only £10 a bottle is a bit of gem. They also have Efes beer and even the water is Turkish.

Onto the mains. The beauty of the Meza Mangal food is that it is simple and tasty. This is best shown in the kebabs, be them lamb, chicken or even quail! The traditional cooking, use of spices, and tasty trimmings all help to make you rethink the whole concept of the drunkards favourite dish. The Kleftiko, sampled last night, is also amongst the best we've tried - real melt in the mouth lamb. A range of pizzas complete the menu and looked tasty from afar, but for us the kebabs usually win hands down.

We can't really comment on the dessert, as by the time we get that far we are usually stuffed - last night was no exception. We were left in peace to finish our second bottle of red, paid up the very reasonably priced bill, and bid Meze Mangal farewell until next time!

37 comments:

FatBastard said...

Sounds like some of the 'proper' greek/turkish cafes on Green Lanes in N London(or Greek Lanes as we used to call it)

Does it do takeaways?

Brockley Jon said...

Indeed they do, fatb@stard! ;)

Pete said...

What other information do you have about the shipping container?

spincat said...

I love this place, and rate it really highly; however, I do think that it is better as a sit-in place than a takeaway, for some strange reason. The takeaway we had from here was the only time I've ever been slightly disappointed here and I have heard similar comments (one I think on this site).

Anonymous said...

sold! Will try and book a table this weekend as never been

Brockley Jon said...

@pete - no more info but a related story up our sleeves - you'll just have to wait...

@spincat - I don't mind the takeaways, but I know what you mean about it working better eating in - you get the proper experience then.

@anon - hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

bg said...

My experience is that though they may lack atmosphere (depending, I suppose, how atmospheric your home is) the takeaways are as tasty as the eat-in food - with just one quibble: they have a couple of times agreed with great enthusiasm to provide the meze without the taramasalata...only for a blob of the pink stuff to be discovered once the food has been taken home. Kind of annoying for vegis...but otherwise, great value, lovely food.

ElijahBailey said...

Their lamb chops are lovely.

boatbum said...

Love this place. Food is brilliant, prices are wallet-friendly and the service manages to be both friendly and professional. And some of the Meze Mangal guys are neighbours of ours and are, as the saying goes, a great bunch of lads.

Richard Elliot said...

Fatastic review Jon. I think you've covered all of Meze Mangal's best bits, their friendly staff, willingness to fit you in even if they are busy, the mixed meze starter (everyone I know orders that!) and the open BBQ.

Vikki said...

The pizza oven is pretty hot too! But it's part of the charm of the place...

As a St John's-sider this is far and away the best place to eat but even if there were loads of other places nearby it would still be a great place to go.

brockley mutha said...

we've never eaten in, but have had several takeaways. All delicious. even my extraordinarily picky son loves their food. And their turkish bread is mmmmm

Headhunter said...

Love this place. I used to live on Upper Street where everyone raves about the Gallipoli Turkish restaurants, but this place is easily as good if not better and certainly cheaper.

Always great food, I leave feeling contentedly stuffed. The only negative is how difficult it cane be to get a table! They have extra space downstairs but sometimes turn people away even though the space there is not being used at all. I assume it is because they need more staff to serve that section if they open it as well.

Shame that some of the other disused retail premises on that strip can't open up as restaurants bars etc - then we'd be giving Upper Street a real run for its money!

spincat said...

I think they applied to extend their premises into an empty shop - if I have got that right. And they didn't get planning permission.

Brockley Jon said...

I've heard that too, Spincat.

During a casual chat to the owner, and don't quote me on this, when I suggested that he should open up a 'Meze Mangal 2' down in Brockley proper, he said that if he was to open a second one it would be in North London, as all his mates from that way complain they have to come so far.

A familiar story for many of us, I'm sure!

Anonymous said...

Wow sounds like a wicked place. Am going to have to check it out after 2 years living in Brockley!

Amanda said...

We walked over to this place, for the first time, last week. It had just rained heavily and the pavement was such that a small lake had developed, on the street in front of the restuarant.

(I have mentioned this before in reviews... I really think the council is letting us (businesses and residents down, by not keeping the streets in good order. I was on a mission to eat at Meze, but things like that will probably put others off). Anyway to the review.
I didn't know what to order, so I asked for a recommendation, and the guy, suggested No 12. Which is a combination of starters. We had a Turkish pizza; the thinnest of bases, laden with a well flavoured tomato topping. With that we had a large platter of delicious edible goodies, stuffed vine leaves, turkish salsas, cucumber, tomatoes, we ate this together with freshly baked bread, soft and warm, and light. The warm bread was important as the platter items were a bit on the chilly side.
The sad thing about it all, we were so stuffed after that we couldn't eat mains, much less pudding. So very 'sadly' we will be 'forced' to return :D
In summary
Service: fast,friendly, informative
Decor- pleasant, comfortable
Atmosphere- the oven makes the place very cosy.
Price-very good value, a filled belly for 2 for less than £15
Food- tasty, freshly prepared, (need to taste more though).
I like this place very much indeed.

Anonymous said...

We also go there all the time. Apart from agreeing with allthe above, one thing I would like to add is with regard to kids. They are always delighted to have them there, making jokes witht hem and generally making them welcome. Best of all, there is no kids meny. I do hate it when you go to a restaurant only for the kids to be given the option of choosing fish fingers burger or chicken nuggets. At MM they will happily do a half portion of anything for the kids, and will substitute the salad for the beloved chips. Mind you , mine love the chicken wings so much they finish a whole porion each without stopping to draw breath. Why can't other places ditch the dreaded, patronising 'Children's Menu'?

Pete said...

Some people have fussy children so maybe they like the availability of children's menus?

Although they must be partly to blame for their children's fussiness.

Anonymous said...

Yes its a great place, they did try o extend into next door but they didn't get planning permission.

Sometimes I just don't understand the council. Infact, I don't think I understand the council...period.

Amanda said...

So we went back here and it was just as good. We skipped starters and when for the kebabs (skewered meats). I found the lamb to be infinitely more preferable than the chicken.

The guy serving us was so lovely, we were being all 'English' and using our knife and fork, and he was like "no no no, please I show you" and he told us to eat it like a wrapped tortilla, ie to fill pitta bread with the meat and salads ingredients, so we can get the full flavour. He was right of course, delicious!

He encouraged us to have the Turkish coffee, a product so strong that it makes expresso seem like a milkshake. It has a thick muddy consistency...it was fun to try it.

Our guy even helped me get my coat on and waved us off.
I have never had service like this before, I couldn't stop laughing.

I love this place.

mljay said...

Yum is all I can say. Delicous lamb kebab. Great portions, great value, good food. Service was just right (and no upselling). Really liked the open kitchen concept. Went in on a monday night - was pretty busy, even at about 7ish. Glad I have given it a go and will def be returning.

Monkeyboy said...

Finally got round to trying this place. Great - cheap, honest food, no messing. But when are they loosing that shipping container??!! it really is god awful. I can't believe that Lewisham do not have the powers to move it?

Sort it out Nick - Ta.

Brockley Nick said...

Went there last night for the first time. Once you've jumped over the enormous puddle that collects on rainy nights outside their front door, the place is great.

Lovely food in monster proportions and good veggie options to go with the lovingly-displayed meat.

The waiters were friendly, attentive and happy to offer advice about what to order.

A local treasure, just please get rid of the sea container.

Monkeyboy said...

@ Amanda, not sure if you still check in but I think your are supposed to let the grounds settle in the bottom and drink carefully so you don't get a mouthful of sediment? Any Turks, Arabs, Egyptians out there with beverage advice?

Brockley Jon said...

About time too, Nick ;) Glad you liked it as much as I do.

Worth mentioning that we went there with a large group recently to celebrate our engagement, and they did their very best to make us all welcome. Despite us bringing more than we'd booked for, and yacking when we should have been ordering, the waiters were very patient and the food was all spot on. Most people hadn't been there before and they all loved it!

Sian said...

BJ: Congratulations! Whenever I've met you both I've always thought you make a fine couple.... hope the wedding will be local!!

Anonymous said...

How strange to remark on the vegetarian selection. What next - "good wheelchair ramp"?

Brockley Jon said...

Aw, thanks Sian! It will indeed, and the venue might well be the subject of future debate on BC!

Brockley Jon said...

p.s. anon 15.24, it's not strange at all - the vegetarian selection is pretty important if you or one of your party is a vegetarian!!

Anonymous said...

But who's vegetarian? Hardly anyone!

Monkeyboy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
fred vest said...

there's twice as many vegatarians than muslims in the UK

lb said...

[monkeyboy] Yeah, that's what you're supposed to do: make sure the grounds have settled, and then sip it, leaving the grounds at the bottom. Have a glass of water on the side, as well.

Monkeyboy said...

....and don't bother trying to sleep for the next 48hrs. Had it in egypt, they flavoured it with cardamon. OK if you like that kind of thing.

By the way, whats the veggie rant all about? I love meat but also want to know whether the veg dishes are any good. Most people eat both y'know.

Tressillian James said...

The meze starter for 2 is excellent as a veggie option if you ignore the Taramasalata.

I started going to Meze after reading about it on this blog (having lived in Brockley for some years) - it really is great.

Brockley Kate said...

Had a very disappointing veggie moussaka from Meze Mangal recently. It was totally inedible.

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