The Mantl (Turkish) – Knightsbridge, LondonAdvertisement Advertisement
It’s worth noting that the people behind this newly launched Turkish eatery in London’s Knightsbridge, are the same folks behind the award-winning Turkish establishment, Skewd Kitchen, we reviewed a few years back in Cockfosters.
This time, the talented brothers Mazlum and Serdar Demir have launched The Mantl on the Arab-friendly stretch of Brompton Road leading towards Harrods.
Mazlum has been recognised for his culinary prowess too, having been voted ‘Best Young Chef’ in 2015 and ‘Chef of the Year’ in both 2017 and 2018, before Skewd Kitchen was named ‘Fine Dining Restaurant’ earlier this year – all at the annual British Kebab Awards event.
The Mantl is a fairly spacious, warmly lit venue, whose decor revolves around a black and cream colour scheme, with seating for 74 indoors and eight outdoors, respectively.
While an alcohol bar is located in the middle of the premises, there’s plenty of seating either side, as well as some boothes discretely situated around the corner.
And if you are closer to the back, you’ll be able to enjoy The Mantl’s own ‘mantl’ – a word which means “a fireplace that sits at the heart of every good home” – with all the meat being confidentally cooked on their open coal pit.
In the end, it was a toss up between the tried and tested Strawberry Mojito, which, while not on the menu, can be ordered on request, and the more unique Green Destiny.
Starting with the former, then everything was there – from the tangy lime and fresh mint to the sparkling strawberry – and everything was well balanced too. In short, you couldn’t ask for anything more from a mojito mocktail.
But, we’d recommend the latter, only because you won’t find it anywhere else and because it’s one darn tantalisingly tasty concoction. The clever thing with this was how the initial edge of sour bitterness to come through was quickly neutralised by the sweetness of the agave syrup. In the end, this was a lovely, lively citrusy affair.
As for the Nargile Swing, then it’s a beautifully smooth beverage, what with the foam courtesy of the egg whites; but in the end, it’s a mild strawberry drink that’s pleasant without being anything spectacular.
A beautifully conceived plate this, with every single element playing its part in making this one of the most exciting dishes of the evening and, dare we say, one of the best starters thus far had this year.
There was essentially a single pairing on which this Smoked Sheep’s Yoghurt either stood or fell: the glazed figs and the dried oak cured beef. The former was as soft and as creamy as you’d like, with a subtle bitter sweetness (thanks to the honey glaze) which seamlessly came together with these absolutely incredibly delicious veiny maroon strips of cured beef that added textural contrast, while imparting a deep meatiness and a hint of smokiness. Honestly, we could have sat their chewing and savouring the juices of that beef forever!
Add to that the delicate piquancy of the sheep’s yoghurt, and the sweetness of the grape molasses, pomegranate seeds and the earthiness of the pistachio crumb, and you’re guaranteed no two mouthfuls being the same. A triumph!
With a texture akin to porridge, the evident smokiness of the eggplant was wonderfully tempered by the sweetness of both the bright red slithers of soft kapia peppers on which it rested, and sprinkled pomegranate seeds.
But it was the ribbed, paper-thin tarhana crisps that we enjoyed using to generously scoop up plenty of that creamy eggplant. A simple, yet well executed dish.
An epic Chargrilled Octopus this, with the star of the show cooked to with impeccable care and precision, and made to rest on both a bed of mung beans, which still retained a good bite, as well as a larg and soft kapia pepper.
Be sure to check out our video above to see how effortlessly our knife cut through that thick, meaty tentacle.RECOMMENDED
It may not look that attractive, but this Feraye was full of flavour, with the dainty golden mantis being delicately crispy on the outside and moist and well seasoned on the in.
Although we didn’t pick up on any smokiness from the whispy-textured yoghurt, there was enough piquancy there for it to marry well against the subtle sweetness of the rich tomato sauce base. It was also drizzled in a mint butter sauce which helped bring the whole thing together.
These succulently cooked, decent-sized wings were generously coated in a sticky date molasses glaze, which was caramelised enough for us to enjoy the way in which both the sprinkled sesame seeds and the sharpness of the roughly cut spring onions combined to counter its sweet-cum-smoky flavour. Solid wings!
Wrapped in a glisteningly thin and crispy pastry was this moist and flavourful filling of soft, tender cubes of oak cured beef, mushrooms, peppers and other little bits, all enveloped in a gorgeously melted traditional hard cheese called Kars Kashar, that’s widely consumed across northeastern Turkey.
This large Pachanga parcel also rested on a beautifully smoked red pepper puree accompaniment.
Okay, so this summery bowl was a triumph of a salad in every possible way! And it’s entirely understandable why, after having enjoyed the combination of the large juicy junks of caramelised plums that still retained a nice bite, crunchy pomegranate seeds, chewy barberries and cranberries, walnuts and plenty of lustrous salad leaves, they’ve designated this a signature dish.
A cacophony of flavours and textures that will have your palate dancing to the rythme of the sweet and the sour therein.
Nicely made bread that’s been sprinkled in freshly ground za’atar and plenty of olive oil.
FROM THE MANTLRECOMMENDED
Presented on a bed of shallot pomme puree, and surrounded by a good sprinkling of pomegranate seeds and pistachio crumb, were a trio of frenched Pistachio Lamb Chops that turned out to be some of the best we’ve had this year, and ones that others will be hard-pressed in beating.
Thick, tender and positively juicy, it was the sweetness of the pistachio crust, coupled with the beautiful crispy char, that made these such an experience.
Moreover, the creamy mash was evidently drizzled with pomegranate molasses, whose sour touch helped balance things out perfectly.
An outstanding dish which, had we to choose between this and the one had below, would unanimously get our vote every time.
This no-nonsense Mixed Pit, as it’s elegantly named, came out fresh, shimmering and appetisingly good.
Comprising of five elements (N.B. the lamb chops were excluded this time round for the superior ones had above), the best had to have been the chicken and lamb, whose superior quality and perfect cooking meant succulent pieces of joy.
The lamb ribs too were a good little nibble, with the fat crisped up enough to offer some texture.
However, we did find the Adana to be on the thin side, culminating in a more crispy-textured kebab that appeared slightly overdone, rather than the moist, meaty and wholesome type we would have preferred.
This mixed platter also comes with a small bowl of salad.
What we had here was plenty of adana kebabs, similar in style and texture to the one had above; but this time working because of the additional condiments making up the rest of this hearty dish.
Hence, what might have otherwise been overly crispy Iskender worked on this occasion, because both these and the huge dollop of semi-thick and lightly smoked yoghurt on top were properly doused in plenty of burnt butter sauce, while resting atop a layer of tangy tomato sauce and a bed of roasted pitta chunks.
With the crispy pitta having partially absorbed all the juices at the bottom, this rustically presented Iskender, thus, turned out to be an epic dish that just went on and on – we couldn’t stop eating!
Kunefes are fast becoming, quite annoyingly we might add, anticlimactic when it comes to Turkish restaurants.
It’s probably down to a bout of high expectations and anticipointment, but we’re yet to find a truly well executed Kunefe (if you know of any, let us know in the comments section below)!
This one was easily the weakest dish of this review, and one which, from the moment it was presented, raised alarm bells.
You’ll see from the video above that this was one stringy affair, and we don’t mean that in any metaphorical sense. In fact, one Lion described the base as “almost like cheese on a cold pizza”! Taste-wise, it was decent enough, not being overly sweet.
But we did find the vanilla ice cream’s peculiarly viscous texture (almost gluey and gloopy in nature) quite intriguing. Nevertheless, we simply couldn’t get past the actual Kunefe’s bizarre texture!
Although this was the first time we’d had baklava à la mille-feuille, it actually worked. Admittedly not the most well presented dessert, what with the layers of pastry being non-uniform in shape, but there was no denying the fantastic crackling-crunch emanating therefrom as our spoon made its way effortlessly through.
The layer of pistachio paste underneath did at first appear to be a tad bulky, but it was actually quite light in composition, with just the right amount of honey-sweetness to help it seamlessly combine with that gorgeous dollop of viscous vanilla ice cream. Truth be told, they should seriously consider just offering that ice cream as a stand alone choice!
Dark chocolate and cherry is a match made in heaven; and these dainty little cubes of Chocolate Delight, drizzled as they were in a cherry jam and topped with edible flowers, made for a satisfyingly tasty mouthful.RECOMMENDED
But, it was this classic Turkish Kadayif that stole the dessert show for us. Presented cold, this particular version is essentially made up of long strands of vermicelli that appear to have been rotated continously to create a large mound, before being positively saturated in a lightly sweetened milky broth, and topped with plenty of crushed pistachio.
Surprisingly, this was a light and deliciously soothing dessert, with the quality of the milk so good that it could easily be had as a whole pint all on its own.
As always, while you’ll find the Turkish Coffee strongly flavoured, apparently there aren’t many places in Turkey itself, let alone London, where Dibek is readily served.
As such, this is a rare treat; and far lighter than Turkish Coffee (though that’s not saying much) with an equally smooth creaminess to it.
- YES/ NO
- DISABLED FACILITIES
- CHILD SEATING
As such, and having reviewed the latter before, we were expecting refined cuisine, but with all the hallmarks of freshness and quality that underpin Turkish food. What we got exceeded our expectations! The Mantl is a place whose menu is bursting with colours and flavours, and which offers dishes that you will struggle to find elsewhere.
Given that there isn't another Turkish joint of such calibre located on the trendy, bustling street on which it's located, be sure to book ahead, especially on evenings and definitely during the weekends.
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