The kebab has been maligned and misunderstood for far too long. All too often people hear the word and immediately think of the greasy, grey slabs of doner meat at dodgy take-aways up and down the country.
To those people, I say this. Do we judge the burger by the standards of what’s on offer in our local late-night take-away? Maybe we used to but things have changed. The same can be said of fried chicken, hot dogs and pizza but the transition is proving harder for the humble kebab.
If you want to find the best kebabs London has to offer, you won’t find them in the trendy centre. No, you’ll need to venture out to areas where there are large Middle Eastern, Turkish or Greek communities. Places like Dalston, Harringay and Enfield.
I’m sure that there are many interesting restaurants in these areas but our particular favourite is Turkish joint Kervan Sofrasi in the seemingly unpromising location of Edmonton Green. Kervan is a cultural melting pot. It’s the kind of place where I’d take Tony Bourdain if I ever got the chance to show him the real London on No Reservations (imagine that).
Yes, it’s a neighbourhood restaurant and I would only expect die hard carnivores tempted by the meaty pictures and actually travel all the way out to zone four. If you do, however, you will eat well.
Kervan is busy every night but due to it’s size you generally don’t have to wait longer than ten minutes for a table. The most popular dish is the ‘Kervan special’ which will easily feed 3-4 people. You also get a few dishes to start on the house, which include salad, tatziki, another cold aubergine dish and a lot of fresh, warm bread.
If you’re extremely hungry, order the lahmacun to start. It’s basically a Turkish pizza and has a topping of spiced minced lamb and is absolutely delicious and amazing value at just £2.50.
The special contains every type of meat you can imagine an authentic kebab place offering. There are grilled chicken wings, lamb and chicken shish and doner (not the nasty reconstituted stuff), lamb chops and ribs and adana (like a long kofte). All this is served on a bed of rice and bulgur wheat.
My advice is this. Wash it all down with a cold Efes and don’t be ashamed to ask for a doggy bag. If you really want to push the boat out, they also have the “Kervan extra special” which comes with a quail on top.
We’ve seen a few negative reviews for this place regarding the food and service which is strange because we’ve never had bad service here or felt rushed. I think it’s wrong to come to a place like this and expect fine dining style attention.
I’ve eaten a lot of great kebabs in my time, both at home and abroad but this one is the best. The meat is juicy and nicely charred. The seasoning is spot on and the sides cut through the meatiness. Ask for chilli sauce and it may blow your head off (depending on the day). All of this will cost you less than ₤30 for two, including drinks.
Address: 80 Church Street, London, N9 9PB
Phone: 020 8884 4441