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Review: Mr Mangal, Norwich - 'You would never think the space used to be a KFC'

PUBLISHED: 12:00 22 June 2019 | UPDATED: 13:45 30 June 2019

The kuzu combo kebab at Mr Mangal on Dereham Road in Norwich. Picture Jessica Long.

The kuzu combo kebab at Mr Mangal on Dereham Road in Norwich. Picture Jessica Long.

Archant

In a former KFC restaurant on Dereham Road in Norwich, a Turkish restaurant is serving a different kind of chicken. Jessica Long tried it out.

The tavuk beyti at Mr Mangal on Dereham Road in Norwich. Picture Jessica Long.The tavuk beyti at Mr Mangal on Dereham Road in Norwich. Picture Jessica Long.

I've always been a big fan of Turkish food and there is sometimes nothing nicer than a meaty kebab with all the salad and fiery chilli sauce.

But finding somewhere that serves flavoursome and fresh kebab-style food in a place you actually want to sit down in can sometimes be a challenge so I was delighted when a friend recommended Mr Mangal on Dereham Road.

He claimed the food was some of the best he had ever eaten and was better than Haggle, one of my favourite places to eat in the city.

I had to try it.

The kuzu combo kebab at Mr Mangal on Dereham Road in Norwich. Picture Jessica Long.The kuzu combo kebab at Mr Mangal on Dereham Road in Norwich. Picture Jessica Long.

Mr Mangal sits in the former KFC on Dereham Road and from the outside looks quite unassuming, but as soon as you walk in you are hit with a spiced aroma from the open kitchen and the interior could not be more different to a fast food restaurant.

The menu is varied and contains the traditional name of each dish with an English description below.

There were 22 different starter options to choose from such as beyaz peynir and kavun, feta cheese with melon, (£5.95) and kizartma, deep fried aubergine, courgette and peppers with tomato sauce, (£4.95).

With my eyes drawn to so many delicious options, me and my twin brother opted for the hot meze platter (£10.90) which came with halloumi, sucuk (Turkish sausage), falafel, kalamar (squid rings) and sigara boregi (filo pastry stuffed with feta cheese and parsley).

Mix hot meze platter at Mr Mangal on Dereham Road in Norwich. Picture Jessica Long.Mix hot meze platter at Mr Mangal on Dereham Road in Norwich. Picture Jessica Long.

It came served with salad, a couple of dips and some beautifully light spiced bread.

The highlight for both of us was the thinly cut sausage which was a powerhouse of smoky and salty flavours and was a perfect match to the creamy houmous. The falafel was some of the best I have had and the only slight disappointment was the sigara boregi.

The pastry was perfectly flaky but there was lack of filling inside and what was there had a limited flavour.

Being both big meat eaters we were very impressed by the grilled kebab options for the main course but vegetarians may be disappointed as there is no real main dish option so I would recommend going for a selection of starters.

Efes pilsen at Mr Mangal on Dereham Road in Norwich. Picture Jessica Long.Efes pilsen at Mr Mangal on Dereham Road in Norwich. Picture Jessica Long.

After much deliberation I went for the tavuk beyti combo (£13.80), a combination of chicken breast cubes and a spicy minced chicken with garlic and parsley.

My brother opted for kuzu the combo kebab (£13.90), which is a chicken and lamb kebab, and both dishes came served with rice and salad.

Sometimes chicken breast can be overcooked but my fears were over as soon as I took a bite of the kebab which was juicy, flavoursome and moreish - I couldn't eat it quick enough.

My brother had similar thoughts on his lamb which was served pink and was wonderfully tender.

Mr Mangal on Dereham Road in Norwich. Picture Jessica Long.Mr Mangal on Dereham Road in Norwich. Picture Jessica Long.

But the item that will make me want to visit Mr Mangal again was the tavuk beyti.

The combination of spices was something I had never experienced, with the heat of the chilli getting satisfyingly warmer with each bite.

The dessert menu is concise with just five items. I had been looking forward to trying the baklava (£4.90) all day but the savoury dishes got the better of me.

Setting

Walking in you would never have thought this space used to be a KFC. Customers are welcomed by an open kitchen near the entrance alongside exposed brick walls and vibrant colour scheme.

Ambiance

In contrast to the hustle and bustle on Dereham Road, the restaurant was very relaxed with background music and decor giving it a modern yet traditional feel.

Service

The staff were very welcoming and genuinely wanted to know if you enjoyed the food. Only criticism was our waiter brought out our mains before clearing our starter.

Drinks

A good selection of wines but beer drinkers may be short for choice with just three beers on offer and a shandy (£3.90).

Accessibility

There are no steps to get into the venue and the restaurant is all across one level.

Toilets

Very clean and the disabled toilet is spacious and easy to access.

Parking

The restaurant is on Dereham Road, opposite the Co-op store, and there is no designated parking but Barn Road car park is a short walk and St Giles car park is a 10 minute walk away.

Price

£48.50 for a sharing platter, two main dishes and two beers.

Highlight

The chicken beyti was one of the best flavoured dishes I have eaten in Norwich.

In summary

A brilliant addition to the city food scene with beautifully succulent meat.

Our food reviews are always independent. They are the opinion of the reviewer based on their experience of the venue when they visited. The establishment is not aware of our visit, is not informed we intend to write a review and bills are paid by the reviewer. The choice of places reviewed is also independent and is not based on venues which do or do not advertise in our publications.

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