I worked up an appetite whilst lusting after the candy-coloured kitchenware in Ceramica Blue in Nottinghill at the weekend. Luckily, I found a little cracker of a restaurant for lunch. Fez Mangal looked humdrum from the outside but the smell of delicious Turkish cuisine coming from the open kitchen drew me in. As I squeezed through the front door, I noticed a little picture of Boris Johnson shaking hands with the chef. And as I always say, if it’s good enough for Boris then it must be good!*
An open kitchen is another good sign for me ever since I went behind-the-scenes at Pizza Hut to find the cooks spraying the pizzas with a garlic-flavoured aerosol! There were no aerosol cans in Fez Mangal; only neatly chopped veggies, whole fish and tender looking meat in front of a chef with an open fire BBQ grill. The waiting staff were fairly relaxed, letting us find our own table and taking our order quickly, albeit without any attempt at friendly chit-chat. The other diners seemed to be there for the good food and a quiet conversation so the atmosphere was laid-back.
And talking of the food… I had a mixed meze platter for a starter which included good-sized portions of honest, tasty humous, cacik, ezmi and tabbouleh served with thick, soft, and warm pitta slices. For my main, I ordered the vegetable kebabs which came in a lightly spiced tomato sauce and a small portion of rice. The dishes tasted simple, wholesome and light and left me feeling nourished rather than overfull. A perfect pit-stop before I skipped off to continue my shopping trip!
*I have never said that in my life!