June 27, 2019

Check out our feature within The American Magazine

Because I put a lot of time and care into preparing a meal, I really appreciate
it when others do the same. As a critic however, I sometimes wonder if this makes me too kind.

This thought prompted me to invite an acquaintance of mine to join me in review- ing the Mantl. This chap provided the inspiration for Grumpy Old Men. I thought surely he would complain about every- thing and provide a cranky counterpoint to my own angelic nature. Not a single gripe! In fact, I’ve never seen him so happy. Perhaps it was a miracle. One more and I’m sure to be canonized!

This new Turkish restaurant is a little gem in Knightsbridge. The concept centers on the open coal grill, the heart of every Anatolian home.

Owner and Chef, Serdar Demir adds more heart with his easy charm and well-deserved pride. Warm and laid back, service remains precise and professional and the staff are all very observant.

Good art almost always seems simple.
It never is. Ingredients are fresh and few but a lot of time goes into their preparation and elegant plating.

The mixed meze (£14) was delightful. The humus, though slightly bland, had a beautiful creamy texture. Cacik is a fresh, flavorful mix of yoghurt, cucumber and mint. Kisir won the prize. The best bulgur wheat salad ever with parsley and tomato. Bursting with flavor.

Charred octopus (£12) was beautifully cooked over coals and served with mung beans, kapia (sweet red) peppers, dill and

apple. A lovely combo that subdued the grump with a single bite.

Feraye (£9) was a new one on me. Small, pan-fried manti (dumplings) filled with lamb and beef and served with tomato sauce, smoked yoghurt and mint butter. Hours of work for little crispy bites of delight.

A mixed pit of lamb and chicken shish, adana (spiced lamb mince), lamb ribs and chops (£25) was more than ample for 2. Not that we left anything on the plate! Every bite was grilled to perfection but take my advice. Just order the lamb shish and don’t even think about sharing. It’s divine! Made with a superb cut of lamb, well-aged and marinated for days, it is juicy, tender and heavenly.

A side of cauliflower (£6) needed more char but came with a delicious blend of grape molasses, tahini, parsley and more gorgeous smoked yogurt. Thick polenta chips (£6) crispy on the outside, came with rosemary, thyme salt and mihaliç cheese (the Turkish answer to Parmigiano).

The wine list is small, well balanced and very reasonable. A bottle of Salice Salentino 2015 from Puglia was a bargain at £30. Medium bodied, soft and fruity with a hint of spice.

Sütlaç, a buffalo milk rice pudding (£8) provided a simple, sweet ending.

Back on the street, Mr Grumpy turned to me and said, “Well that was an unex- pected pleasure…except for the com- pany!” With that, he sped off in a cab.

I forgive him. Michael Teresa! H