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!