Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Mmmmmm...grilled meat. Cyprus Mangal

One of the more recent topics of discussion in the twitterverse revolved around what smell made you feel hungry. Instigated by a certain Mr Heston Blumenthal himself (no doubt to create some strange edible candle or fashion the smell into a form of cutlery) various suggestions were bandied around. These included the smell of frying onions, freshly baked bread and cooked bacon amongst many others. However, one of the more popular choices appears to be the smell of meat roasting (sorry to all the vegetarians out there, but its true, your missing out).

Cyprus Mangal

Fuelled by this debate, I decided to go and find my own grilled meat. I thought about trying "that fire grill" at Kazan but serious budgetary concerns held me back. Instead, on the recommendation of my old mate Gav, I headed for the Cyprus Mangal. Another good place to eat in Victoria, surely not?

And I was right, technically its not in Victoria but more towards Pimlico. I entered an almost empty and pretty tiny restaurant. Initial impressions not great but I felt the reassuring heat off the coals as I headed to my seat and soon, as that familiar smell of grilling meat wafted over, I felt that everything was going to be alright.

Hellim @ Cyprus Mangal

I ordered the mixed grill and a side of grilled halloumi (a personal but ultimately unnecessary favourite). Halloumi, was well, halloumi. Nice and salty and came in rather large chunks. Bit disappointed by the level of grilling on two of the three pieces, could have done with a bit more of a char.

Mixed Grill @ Cyprus Mangal

The mixed grill comprised of a decent bit of kofte with some cubes of chicken and lamb shish. The kofte, normally my favourite bit of meat from the mangal, was of a very good standard. Speckled with an even char from those searing hot coals, the juiciness of the lamb was sealed in, releasing their flavour only once I took my first bite. The shish were not as good. The chicken and lamb looked more like they had been licked by the coals as opposed to kissed. Personally, I like mine not only kissed by the flames, but held down and involving tongues, real evidence that the coals are hot and working their magic. The bits of lamb were also the tiniest shish I have ever seen and the chicken underseasoned. The salad was strange in that it was lacking in salad leaves. Not totally convinced.

As I left, the place had filled up and was close to bursting point. I had to barge past the poor souls waiting for a table whilst battling the heat emanating from the smouldering charcoal. Overall verdict is not bad. I still prefer my local (FM Mangal in Camberwell) but its not a bad place to fulfill that meat craving.

p.s. Please note, the "Mr Blumenthal" mentioned above was a fraud, but the sentiments are the same. What smell makes you hungry?

Cyprus Mangal, 45 Warwick Way, Pimlico, SW1V 1QS

Cyprus Mangal on Urbanspoon


Ron said...

I very much enjoyed my dinner there when I was visiting London in June of this year :)

Kate said...

Great post!