You can’t get a decent kebab in London

with one comment

So here’s the thing: You move to one of the supposedly greatest cities in the world. It’s a smorgasbord of art, culture, cuisine. There’s a buzz, always something to see, corners to investigate at every turn. A usual night out, y’know, you’ve just been to see a band, you’d catch every 18 months in Glasgow, for the third time in 6. When changing from tube to mainline, you realise you’re peckish. Time to go look for grub. You don’t feel like chicken, and god knows there’s no bloody fish and chip shops (seriously, WTF?). Guess its got to be deadly. Yum!

Except, they don’t know how to make a kebab in this town.

Let’s take a donner at the meat. Assuming whatever weird process the rotisserie trunk is produced is the same – and as, hopefully, unsavoury – the world over, so it should taste the same. Not for Londoners the layers of thinly shaved slices. You get near bloomin’ steak-thick slices that, frankly, look like it was my carving technique hacking at the great elephant leg. No matter how much you’ve ever wished you had chunks of this to eat, trust me you don’t. Grease filled sponge that it is

Yes, some iceberg, and a few slices of cucumber and tomato can pass as ‘salad’ in any child friendly pub or corner caff, but not in a kebab shop! Back when I worked in Pollokshields, it was a joy to wait for a hungover lunch treat in the Lahore kebab house and watch the owner prepare the massive bowls of salad. Finely shredding white cabbage and onion. Tossed with mint, coriander and lemon juice (always from a bottle). Stuff so awesome vegetarians would gladly come to the kebab shop after the pub because pitta stuffed with it and smothered in sauce was good enough on its own.

The sauce. Ah yes. Y’know that first time in an Edinburgh chippy when you automatically just say yes because what else would they be asking you if you wanted hem on you chips than salt & vinegar? It’s like that. Nod for sauce and your kebab is smothered in an unconscionable garlic mayo mix. Even if you’re quick enough to specify the chilli sauce, he’ll just reach for another plastic bottle and squit out a trail of spicy ketchup. To be fair, there are a few places with proper kebab sauce. It seems to go mostly on chips and cheese, and anyway is too little too late after the poor salad and cribriform meat based substances.

Hopefully someone will set me straight. Tell me I need to venture to Poplar or similar for a proper kebab. If so, I promise to verify.

Don’t even get me started on how the dearth if decent curry down here….


Written by Tony Kiernan

14 January 2013 at 11:40 pm

Posted in Food, Kebab, London

One Response

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    Best lamb donner wrap I’ve ever had. Never had a typical donner in the pitta but the lamb is shaved thin (then chopped) all veg shredded, and the garlic sauce… get the garlic sauce added into the wrap and then buy an extra tub to dip and your breath will wreak of garlic for the rest of the night- worth it.


    25 July 2013 at 9:16 am

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