Saray Mangal

January 21, 2014

We both sighed as my friend told me about seeing the queues outside the newly opened Frankie and Benny’s at Leicester’s Highcross. Fortunately, we could quickly forget about that because we were going somewhere far more pleasurable.

In contrast to the huge rambling collection of American-type food substance on offer at FB,  Saray Mangal has a small, focused menu that distils the appeal of the Turkish ocakbasi –  the extraordinary aromas and tastes of spiced meats grilled over flames. Similar venues have popped up around Narborough Road (I’ve already praised Sultan)  but this is on Highfields Street, just five minutes from my home and it’s lovely. It’s in the premises of what was the cheap and cheerful L’Aperitivo, and shares some of the good natured bonhomie of that restaurant with the advantage of better food.

Sure it’s not sophisticated, but it is very tasty food by smiling people in a buzzing atmosphere. There were nine of us on Saturday night and the place was packed, mainly with large groups of young women in headscarves having a great time. Our waitress apologised for having to shout a bit to get herself heard, but every order came quickly and correctly and served with good grace.  We started by sharing a couple of the family meze selection – small, but fresh and punchy plates of aubergine salad, cacik (Anatolian herby yoghurt), hummus, stuffed vine leaves, olives, springy bread…you know the kind of thing. Then, arriving when ready, our main courses – basically variations of chicken or lamb, minced or cubed, spiced and flame grilled, and served up with rice and salad or a creamy yoghurt sauce.   Just delightful, and both courses and a soft drink for less than a burger at F&B.

If you want a real slice of Leicester life in 2014, as opposed to a dodgy recreation of a marketing meeting’s version of 50’s Americana, and you want some food that is genuine and wholesome – get yourself down there.

 

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13 Responses to “Saray Mangal”

  1. dropscone said

    Don’t suppose you noticed if they have much for veggies?

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  2. dropscone said

    Thanks! I’ll check them out 🙂

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  3. Rob M said

    I love that these Turkish places are opening up around town – typically quick, healthy, good value and with generous portions. In Dalston, many Turkish restaurants are licenced – don’t suppose this place is liberal enough for that, is it?

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  4. […] We both sighed as my friend told me about seeing the queues outside the newly opened Frankie and Benny’s at Leicester’s Highcross. Fortunately, we could quickly forget about that because we were going somewhere far more pleasurable.  […]

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  5. I’m an American in Leicester… and all these “American” restaurants popping up are just embarrassing. I can’t believe how popular they are either.

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  6. I walked by the other day when going to the Taj Mahal for a curry and it was very busy and looked great. Definitely on my list.

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  7. Paul said

    Saray Mangal’s own description of their chicken nuggets is (and I quote):

    “Saray Mangal chicken nugget is a chicken product made from either meat slurry or chicken breasts cut to shape, breaded or battered served with chips”

    Is this an unfortunate problem in translation, or has someone hacked their website?!

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    • riponia said

      Yes I did see that and thought oh dear, should someone tell them? If it is their own cut and paste translation I suppose it’s honest, but can’t think it does much for sales.

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      • Paul said

        I just checked with Google – it’s a ‘word for word’ quote from the Wikipedia definition of a chicken nugget – I think they need to be told!

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  8. […] yet but there are some promising signs. It’s taken a similar route to it’s neighbour Saray Mangal and is offering a short menu focused on the classics of a particular cuisine. So it’s not […]

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