Ephesus Mangal

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5 reviews
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88 Bishopgate,

(0113) 2438 567

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Review byClaire Green28/07/2009
This unpretentious eatery in the city centre provides traditional Turkish fare at low prices in a relaxed and laidback environment.

The Venue
You'll find this restaurant under the railway arches. It has all the signs of a hasty conversion from shop to restaurant and Ephesus Mangal doesn't necessarily lend itself to its image as the new Turkish eatery about town. Despite its slightly sinister exterior, the inside is bright and welcoming, albeit in a shabby chic style.

The place is never going to win any interior design awards and consists solely of 10 or so tables haphazardly arranged, a large fridge, deli-style counter, and enormous open grill.

Various old-style paintings in plastic frames are arranged erratically on the walls, combined with a few gold crosses and a ceiling fan which is permanently switched on with a staunch disregard for the passing of seasons.

However, while the interior may not be particularly endearing the alluring waft of cooking and spices that lingers outside should be enough to draw you in.

The People
The staff are all Turkish and all seem to muck in together with everyone taking turns at the grill and waiting tables. They’re a cheerful bunch who happily chat with customers if pressed, and they engage well with the varied clientele.

Service is swift and efficient and there's a laidback atmosphere which adds to the appeal of the restaurant.

Regulars include large groups of students or locals, friends, and the odd couple, although the bright lights and chatty buzz does not earmark the restaurant as one to take your beloved to for a romantic night out.

The Food
There really is only one reason visitors keep coming back to Ephesus Mangal – the food and the price. First up is a basket of Turkish flat bread which is served still warm from the grill with little saucers of spicy tomato relish and stuffed olives. This simply whets the appetite and the sight of meat and fish roasting on the open grill combined with mouthwatering smells merely serve to leave you salivating for starters.

The menu consists of numerous individual dishes but also several mixed platter options. The mixed starter is a well presented generous serving of creamy humus, a soft tangy aubergine dip, more tomato relish and delicately steamed vine leaves stuffed with garlic and lemon-flavoured rice. This would almost serve as a meal in itself, but the mixed meze yields further delights.

The bumpy homemade lamb meatballs with chilli pack an unexpected punch but are cooled by the mounds of rice and green salad that accompany all main dishes.

There are marinated chicken wings in a sticky barbecue sauce, lamb kebabs, and pork skewers interspersed with chunks of fresh red pepper, mushroom and onion. Veggies are well accommodated and the whole fresh fish is lightly flavoured.

Even between two people you’d deserve a medal if you manage to finish the huge portions and while pudding always seems like a good idea, it’s a challenge to even contemplate such a thought after two courses of grilled goodness. A mixed starter and main will set you back about £11 per person – a steal, given the portions.

The Drink
The restaurant is unlicensed but there is an off-licence two doors down where you can get a decent bottle of wine for under £5. The restaurant does not charge a corkage fee and will provide jugs of iced tap water at your table.

The Last Word
Ephesus Mangal has no ambitions to be anything other than what it is – a well priced cheerful Turkish eatery serving amazing food in a laidback stripped bare environment. Well worth a visit, and will no doubt become a firm favourite.
Ephesus Mangal has been reviewed by 5 users

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