When I first moved into Hackney, many moons ago, the first meal I shared with my new flatmates, on my very first night, was a Turkish on Mare Street. It was love at first bite. I LOVE Turkish food. Bloody love the stuff.
The Mantl is absolutely nothing like that Turkish, located as it is in Knightsbridge with a sleek décor appropriate for the area. It’s full of the sort of people that would fit right in at Harrods across the road. What it does share in similarities though, is a bloody delicious menu. It centres around the fireplace, with many of the dishes being cooked over an open coal pit and smells just as incredible as you might expect. We visited on that 40-degree day (remember how mental that was??) and sat in the window, half outside, properly feeling the holiday vibes. Inside however is perfect for larger groups (there seemed to be a birthday party whilst we were there in fact).
You might think you know Turkish food but at The Mantl, they aim to showcase some of the country’s lesser-known dishes. To start we shared the cold smoked eggplant with peppers, walnuts, garlic, honey with shards of tarhana crisps, stuck in at jaunty angles. Alongside that (and perhaps our favourite dish of the night) was the feraye manti which is basically little Turkish dumplings, in this case, stuffed with crispy lamb mince, swimming in a little pool of tomato sauce and topped with a lovely big blob of yoghurt and mint butter. Obviously copious amounts of bread were commandeered to scoop everything up.
Obviously, we needed something from the charcoal grill. A beautifully presented pair of juicy lamb chops topped with asparagus and pomegranate molasses sat on creamy, super smooth shallot pomme puree. And in the name of interest, we tried the ‘mixed pit’ which included more lamb (don’t judge!) juicy boneless chicken, Adana (which is one of my faves, the long, hand-minced meat kebab) and ribs. A token spoon salad was added on the side alongside polenta chips sprinkled with rosemary, a little Turkish cheese and thyme salt.
Rest assured, there’s no need to leave your veggie mates at home (although I do shed a tear they won’t try that Adana). There are veggie skewers from the grill section and many of the sides and cold starters are all veggie friendly too.
Dessert-wise, the Kadayif ain’t much of a looker (they did try to bless em, by adding an edible flower), but we really enjoyed the sweet milk-based pudding. It’s hard to explain, soggy noodles studded with pistachios doesn’t sound great but – it is, so you’ll have to trust me.
The Mantl also has a set lunch menu with 2 courses for £14.90 per person and 3 courses for £17.90 per person – well worth remembering if you’re in need of somewhere to drop after you’re all shopped out.