Thursday, 29 July 2010
What draws you to London? Is it the buzzing streets, the superior shopping, the endless stream of festivals and exhibitions and screenings?
I'm a bit ashamed to admit it, but for me, London is all about the meat. Living with a vegetarian in the dark depths of Scotland will do that to a girl. In the weeks preceding a visit, I dream not of cocktails and afternoon teas, but of lamb chops and bulgogi. Don't judge me.
Thankfully my friends know me well, so when I arrived last week we headed straight to Testi, their local Turkish Ocakbasi restaurant on Stoke Newington High Street. We could have gone to any of the more well known grills in the area, but this one, my friend said, was special. "They do MEAT BREAD". (And lamb testicles. But let's just gloss over that).
We walked past the great charcoal grills and into the cosy, warmly lit restaurant to take our seats. Within minutes our starter arrived, a generous sharing platter of cold meze, served with warm, fluffy, freshly baked bread. Everything tasted fresh and hearty, including the dolma which were so delicious we squabbled over them.
Then came the meat - succulent lamb chops that had just the right mixture of crispy fatty outer bits and soft tender inner bits.
They were served with rice and a selection of tangy side dishes, like these tasty chargrilled onions in pomegranate juice. The famous "meat bread" was a revelation: thin slices of bread brushed in meat juices. Genius.
We smiled, laughed, and devoured it all, with sticky fingers and greasy mouths. It's not exactly on the tourist map, but do try to bring some old friends there on your next visit.
Because nothing says "I've missed you" like a plate of meat.
38 Stoke Newington High Street, N16 7PL