I’m going to be completely upfront with you: I think I’ve found the best Turkish restaurant in London.
Residing in the exclusive neighbourhood of Knightsbridge and just across the road from luxurious Harrods, I walked in on a Tuesday evening in time for dinner (19:00) with the restaurant already alive with laid-back locals dining on the restaurant’s relaxed al fresco area. Pretty soon, I was met by a friendly staff who greeted me like a friend and led me to my table inside. More on the hospitality later.
As I waited for my partner in crime, I couldn’t help but be mightily impressed by the stylish decor. I’m talking sleek black stone flooring, comfy dark leather banquettes, the open kitchen, and upbeat pop music that is often the soundtrack to every animated conversation. It’s the kind of vibe and interiors that I’d seen in other top restaurants.
With a plethora of enticing dishes to choose from, I decided to let the staff recommendations takeover. I’m glad I did – the food was sensational. The traditional Turkish Feraye of crispy lamb beef manti (deep fried miniature dumpling to you and me) was moreish and taken to another level by the rich tomato sauce, smoky yoghurt and mint butter. The chargrilled octopus with mung beans, kapia peppers, dill golden apple came fresh off the grill and had that chargrilled look and taste I love.
The pistachio lamb chops for mains continued to exceed to my expectations. It was exquisite – juicy, tender, and crusted with finely chopped pistachios giving it an added another layer of texture I’ve never had before, all this served on a bed of silky shallot pomme puree, asparagus, pomegranate molasses. I normally go for chips on the sides, but following recommendations, I opted for barbecue onions. I’m glad I did because it was ravishingly presented, chargrilled and caramelised subtly around the edges, crunchy and dressed in a sour and sweet dressing. Who knew BBQ onions could make a brilliant side?
A feast fit for the hungriest party’s
All of this, and I’ve not even started just how sumptuous the lamb fillet shish was, or how smoky and creamy the smoked eggplant with tarhana crisps were, or how fresh and zesty the spoon salad was. It was a feast fit for the hungriest party’s and I can wax lyrics about these dishes all day long.
Turkish desserts are unlike any other. A lot less sweet than many Western sweets, but still nonetheless satisfying. If there’s still room for dessert after a feast like that, then Kazandibi with raspberry ice cream is my pick of the bunch from a dessert menu offering traditional Turkish desserts as well as Western faves such as cheesecakes.
A work of art
What struck me was the meticulous preparation of ingredients to the sublime presentation when it arrives at my table. Take, for example, the lamb shish where the cut of meat was chosen specifically for its tenderness and 2-3 days of prepping before it’s ready to be put under the grill. The result is gorgeous dishes that not only tasted exceptional but also resembles a work of art.
My glass was never empty
It wasn’t just the food that left such a lasting impression but also the flawless service. Wonderfully welcoming from the moment I arrived, supremely knowledgeable about every dish on the menu, and generously accommodating, the staff here are all superstars. My glass was never empty and as I found out more, it was obvious to me how proud everyone was of the menu they’ve delivered and how they’d go the extra mile to ensure a perfect experience. The hospitality is second to none.
MANTL is all about bringing friends and families together through a mouth-watering array of Turkish food and I think they’ve absolutely nailed it. If I was celebrating a family occasion, or casually catching-up with friends, or even organising a large office team social night out, I’ll know where to come. There’s sure to be room in this 80-seater restaurant.
Founders and restauranteurs, Serder and Emre, have done a stunning job establishing this gorgeous family-run restaurant into a must-visit Turkish restaurant in Knightsbridge. Sumptuous food, first-class service, stylish decor, fabulous location – what more can you ask for? I’ve never been more confident in saying that MANTL is one the best Turkish restaurants in London.
✨ DECOR & AMBIENCE: 5/5
🤵🏻 SERVICE: 5/5
🍸 FOOD: 5/5
🌟 OVERALL: 5/5