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..and in "the surrealism of everyday life" department...

 

John Mariani's latest

 

 

 

I cannot take an article about dining out in Istanbul seriously where the writer is so resolutely determined to praise everything and criticise nothing in the main restaurants he visits. It's clear to me that he's not holding their cuisine to any kind of objective standard that would make what he says useful for those of us who want to gauge the level of quality against comparators that we might be familiar with. He just loves it all. Fair enough for him, but not really informative for anyone who is really interested in dining standards .

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I cannot take an article about dining out in Istanbul seriously where the writer is so resolutely determined to praise everything and criticise nothing in the main restaurants he visits. It's clear to me that he's not holding their cuisine to any kind of objective standard that would make what he says useful for those of us who want to gauge the level of quality against comparators that we might be familiar with. He just loves it all. Fair enough for him, but not really informative for anyone who is really interested in dining standards .

 

I think it is entirely possible to have a perfect run of good restaurants in Istanbul so long as you stick to turkish food and stay away from places that cater to westerners. Lebanon is very much the same way.

I'm not sure what you mean by "level of quality against comparators". Are you comparing these places to Michelin *** (which misses the point of the food entirely), or are you comparing them to other turkish restaurants?

 

Eh, I think I know the answer. This is exactly the reason I never bother with OA.

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Apart from the fact that the article is totally uncritical of the restaurants, his descriptions of the food do not chime with any of the restaurants I have been to in any other part of Turkey outside Istanbul, despite visiting and researching which restaurants to go to several times in the last few years in a number of places.

 

Also, the food he describes is resolutely not available in Turkish restaurants in London-and there are loads of them.

 

So, logic would dictate that he IS talking about the kind of high quality cuisine that can be compared to restaurants in other countries, not necessarily Michelin three star, but high quality and exceptional nevertheless, and therefore the "comparator" I''m talking about would be how it compares to them, which would be useful information for those of us who are into "fine dining"

 

The standard of Lebanese restaurants in London is way way higher than Turkish restaurants and although I have never been to Lebanon I suspect that the quality of the best over here and the best there is not dissimilar

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I cannot take an article about dining out in Istanbul seriously where the writer is so resolutely determined to praise everything and criticise nothing in the main restaurants he visits. It's clear to me that he's not holding their cuisine to any kind of objective standard that would make what he says useful for those of us who want to gauge the level of quality against comparators that we might be familiar with. He just loves it all. Fair enough for him, but not really informative for anyone who is really interested in dining standards .

 

 

That's okay. There are many who don't take John Mariani seriously.

 

Maybe they paid for his trip so he has to be nice. :lol:

 

Say Tucks--is Angel Mangal a Turkish restaurant?

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Say Tucks--is Angel Mangal a Turkish restaurant?

 

It is, Nick, and it is probably the best in London, but even so it is basically a kebab house. No Turkish restaurant in London serves the kind of stuff that Mariani describes, which begs the question-why not?

 

Lebanese restaurants in London are in a different league altogether.

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He wasn't sent to do a review of a specific restaurant. He featured on his web page the best of what he found in Istanbul. He doesn't wish to feature the places he didn't like. This is neither unusual nor discreditable, it seems to me.

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He wasn't sent to do a review of a specific restaurant. He featured on his web page the best of what he found in Istanbul. He doesn't wish to feature the places he didn't like. This is neither unusual nor discreditable, it seems to me.

 

Who said it was "discreditable"? I just said it wasn't useful. And this is because if you write nothing but praise for everything without any critical mode in your discourse you don't tell people anything apart from the fact that "I liked this place and everything was wonderful".

 

As I said-fair enough for him, but not particularly analytical in terms of cuisine standards for those of us interested in such things.

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As someone who eats Turkish food in London close to once a week, I'd have to disagree with Tuckers on both the general and the specific. Angel Mangal certainly isn't bad, and much more 'restaurant'-like in atmosphere than some of the others, but the cooking and meat quality impress me much more in a couple of the Dalston places. As for it not being 'high quality' food or the places 'kebab houses', for me the term kebab house suggests an ancient log of mechnically recovered meat revolving on a stick and dripping in its own fat while being kept lukewarm... Not very appetizing, I agree. But the Ockabasi restaurant is surely a TOTALLY different thing, everything grilled to order over charcoal. Of course there's very little preperation involved in the food, but at Mangal Ockabasi or Bos Cirik you get first rate meat well seasoned and accurately cooked, extremely fresh salad and bread. I don't really see what is to be complained about, it isn't Troisgros, but it isn't trying to be and shouldn't be held to account for it. For me, living more or less in a Turkish neighbourhood it fills much the same role as Mexican food did when I lived in a Mexican part of San Francisco, and I'm very very happy to have it around.

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As for it not being 'high quality' food or the places 'kebab houses', for me the term kebab house suggests an ancient log of mechnically recovered meat revolving on a stick and dripping in its own fat while being kept lukewarm... Not very appetizing, I agree. But the Ockabasi restaurant is surely a TOTALLY different thing, everything grilled to order over charcoal. Of course there's very little preperation involved in the food, but at Mangal Ockabasi or Bos Cirik you get first rate meat well seasoned and accurately cooked, extremely fresh salad and bread. I don't really see what is to be complained about, it isn't Troisgros, but it isn't trying to be and shouldn't be held to account for it. For me, living more or less in a Turkish neighbourhood it fills much the same role as Mexican food did when I lived in a Mexican part of San Francisco, and I'm very very happy to have it around.

 

Alex, I have no problem with kebab houses. I enjoy going to kebab houses. By describing somewhere as a "kebab house" I'm not criticising it per se. I'm simply pointing out that the kind of Turkish food described by Mariani in that article is not available in Turkish restaurants in London. And the question, as I said, is begged-why not?

 

It's the same with Greek restaurants. Until The Real Greek, nobody had opened a Greek restaurant in London which served up anything other than bog standard plate smashing fare. As a result Greek restaurants have disappeared off the culinary map. Charlotte Street used to be full of them. Not any more. In fact there have been no imitators of The Real Greek which begs another why not.

 

You see you'd think enterprising Greek or Turkish restaurateurs would understand what was needed to develop the cuisine further in a willing market. But they have not. Meanwhile Lebanese restaurants represent some fantastic insights into the cuisine and are really high quality.

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you're damned if you kebab and damned if you carb?

 

You see you'd think enterprising Greek or Turkish restaurateurs would understand what was needed to develop the cuisine further in a willing market. But they have not.

 

This is so sad, chinese restaurateurs who won't explain their menus, the Greeks and Turks don't understand what is needed (obviously too busy bumping into blondes) to develop the cuisine. Not to mention the south american peasants who need to get off their goats and cook them already. Seems like London is just a magnet for bad restos. :lol:

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you're damned if you kebab and damned if you carb?

This is so sad, chinese restaurateurs who won't explain their menus, the Greeks and Turks don't understand what is needed (obviously too busy bumping into blondes) to develop the cuisine. Not to mention the south american peasants who need to get off their goats and cook them already. Seems like London is just a magnet for bad restos. ;)

 

You see you have no knowledge whatsoever of the restaurant scene in London. But I do. Lots of it. But instead of listening and taking an interest you want to make fatuous posts like that.

 

The fact is that Greek and Turkish restaurants in London are largely mired in the past and some Chinese restaurants are the same. And those restaurants are suffering, while others are leaping ahead. But instead of having an interesting discussion about why that should be you want to make idiotic and sarcastic comments about me.

 

Sad really, but to be expected I suppose ;) :lol:

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You see you have no knowledge whatsoever of the restaurant scene in London. But I do. Lots of it. But instead of listening and taking an interest you want to make fatuous posts like that.

 

The fact is that Greek and Turkish restaurants in London are largely mired in the past and some Chinese restaurants are the same. And those restaurants are suffering, while others are leaping ahead. But instead of having an interesting discussion about why that should be you want to make idiotic and sarcastic comments about me.

 

Sad really, but to be expected I suppose ;) :lol:

Of course, I'm a foreigner, what can you expect ;)

 

Quite frankly, this isn't a thread about the London restaurant scene and I don't see how your knowledge of it is relevant, although you seem to think that how a certain genre of restaurants does in London is a proxy to the quality of that "cuisine". (even after it's been effectively proven to you that this is nonsense)

 

You repeatedly make "observations" about people from various cultures (whether in their home countries or as immigrants), observations that invariably treat all of them in some shallow, negative stereotypical manner*, so I propose you don't act too surprised when faced with sarcastic responses.

 

* although you're willing to concede that a few of those chinese folks actually learned how to behave and as a result are doing well.

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