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Lamb Wrap at F M Mangal, Camberwell

30 Aug

Adana Wrap

LOCATION: 54 Camberwell Church St, London SE5 8QZ [map].

PRICE: £6.00 – £7.50.

BREAD: A very large, thin flatbread, the like of which I have not seen elsewhere.

FILLING: Lamb, salad (carrot, onion, lettuce, peppers), garlic yoghurt sauce, chilli sauce.

PROS & CONS: F M Mangal is very close to my house and I have long since stopped eating in. I’ve discovered the way to do things properly, which is to order the wraps, embellish with a Turkish salad and flamingo tarama (if going all out) and then just get on with life. Straying into the wider menu is for idiots and the uninitiated. You’ll notice that I have titled this post ‘lamb wrap’ as I couldn’t decide between the lamb shish and the adana. We often order both, then halve them and share. The lamb shish should be eaten first, while the chunks of lamb are springy and hot from the grill; they bounce between the teeth, just cooked in the centre, smoke infused. They’re as juicy as a tense plum, and the not-quite-bloody flavours and fats combine inside with the thin garlic yoghurt, chilli sauce and salad. This is why you get the wrap; this magical cauldron of tasty will not bubble if things are presented just so on a plate.

The adana, conversely, is better when slightly cooled; at least, it can take it, unlike the lamb shish, which has a tendency to taste livery if not still jumping from the heat. These lengthy pucks of minced meat and spice ooze fat and glory. My one complaint is that they do turn up the odd nugget of gristle but this adds to the spit, smoke and flame-licked animal appeal of it all. The key to making a good adana that stays on the skewer lies in the kneading of the meat mixture beforehand, which increases the density of the kebab and stops it flopping off into the coals. This is a good, solid but juicy example that they bash out consistently like a sewing machine hammers fabric. Confident and relentless.

SCORE: 9/10

Lamb Kebab Wrap at Asian Takeaway, Peckham

30 Apr

Babbage

LOCATION: ‘Asian Takeaway’, opposite the station on Rye Lane, next to Ali Baba fruit n veg.

PRICE: Can’t remember. A few quid? Not much, anyway. 

BREAD: Naan.

FILLING: Minced lamb kebab, cucumber, lettuce, yoghurt sauce, chilli sauce.

PROS: This sandwich is a lesson in the value of simplicity and freshness. Who would’ve thought we’d be so lucky that a bunch of firecrackers would set up a tandoor in what is basically a shack tucked away off Peckham’s main drag, Rye Lane? A man works next to the sweaty heat of the oven rolling balls of dough, one under each palm in opposite directions, simultaneously. Wax on, wax off. These are shaped and hand-slapped into the tandoor, to order. He wears gloves. Long, skewered kebabs are speared in and out too, then hung from the roof to cool once cooked.

What’s particularly impressive about this kebab is the spicing. So often too many spices muddle together making the overall flavour flat and oddly, very bland. These guys know when to stop. There’s a whacking great measure of green chilli though, which brings searing freshness as well as, obviously, hefty poke.

The salad is as juicily spanking as everything else, and the cucumber is cut lengthways, so that it actually lies flat in the wrap and doesn’t fall out. Finally. Someone. I can never get one of these wraps into my face quite fast enough actually, and then I always have to be talked out of getting another. I don’t let go of this idea usually until I get way down past Maccy D’s and almost around the corner to the High Street, by which point it just means really that I can’t be arsed to walk back.

CONS: So I have lived in Peckham for like, quite a lot of years now and I never knew this place existed. The first time I went there I asked the guy why he didn’t have a sign, to which he responded by pointing at the sign. It’s kinda hard to see but actually once you…okay I’m just a massive doofus.

SCORE: 7/10