The best kebabs in London
Recommended dish: Chargrilled lamb shish kebab
Comprising three different set-ups behind four shopfronts, Antepliler is part restaurant, part café and part pâtisserie (check out its baklavas and homemade ice creams). Adventurous cooking from the Silk Route is the attraction – witness the sogan kebab (skewered minced lamb koftes served with pomegranate sauce and grilled shallots, alongside a crisp salad and traditional Turkish pide bread).
Recommended dish: Mixed meat shawarma on fries
A boho-chic Persian hangout from the people behind Bao and Hoppers, lively Berenjak does a good line in kebabs among its more upmarket, modernist offerings. Take a punt on the chunks of chilli-marinated lamb rump or the minced goat shoulder seasoned with onion and black pepper. Best of all, staff are eager to please and the bill won’t kill.
Recommended dish: Adana lamb kebab with yoghurt sauce
The hipster’s ocakbasi of choice in Dalston, Cirrik has a way with the Turkish classics. There’s charcoal-grilled bread for dunking into meze dips and thin-based yet fluffy pide, but this place is particularly strong on kebabs – from a classic sis (shish) to the full mixed kebab, a huge platter (including quail) designed to feed four people. There are offshoots in Stoke Newington, Hackney and Tottenham.
Recommended dish: Chicken shawarma
A cut above your typical kebab joint, this cash-only hole in the wall uses prime meat from Smithfield market. Chicken shawarma is the house speciality (it also does a lamb version): ours was moist and nicely charred, while the addition of tangy, chilli-spiked taramasalata gave the whole dish some extra oomph. Judging by the queues snaking out of the door, the locals think it’s worth it.
Recommended dish: Single kebab skewer (chicken or lamb)
This consistently reliable Whitechapel canteen deals in full-flavoured Punjabi street food, from snacks and curries to the eponymous meat on a stick. Despite the moniker, there are only two kebabs on offer – one seekh (a sausage of seasoned, finely minced lamb on a skewer) and a classic chicken kebab: both are excellent.
Recommended dish: Falafel kebab with almond houmous, grilled cauliflower, golden raisins and pickled cauliflower stem
It had to happen, didn’t it? We’ve had gourmet burgers, gourmet hot dogs and gourmet fried chicken. Now it's the kebab's turn. Le Bab’s versions are decidedly posh, served open and painstakingly arranged over thin, house-made flatbread – a bit like Scandinavian smørrebrød. It almost seems a pity to roll them up. Fillings change seasonally, with preserved and fermented ingredients adding to the Nordic vibe.
Recommended dish: Lamb köfte kebab
East London’s most famous ocakbasi has been around for more than 20 years, but this kebab king still lures in passers-by with its enticing smells. Meat is the main event here, so hold out for the succulent cubes of grilled lamb in the insuperable cop sis kebab, or the garlicky lusciousness of the minced chicken beyti served with an oversized salad and warm leavened bread.
Recommended dish: Lamb kebab
On a small side street off the Edgware Road, this tiny Persian hole in the wall specialises in chargrilled koobideh-style kebabs – minced and seasoned (halal) lamb or chicken moulded like a long sausage down the length of the skewer. Factor in some terrific just-cooked flatbreads and verdant salads packed with herbs, and you’ll forgive the cramped, basic surroundings.
Recommended dish: Lamb koobideh kebab
Though plenty of rich, homely stews are on offer at this Persian restaurant, its tender skewered meats are by no means poor cousins. Make a beeline for the lamb koobideh kebab or the chelo joojeh kebab – a small, whole marinated chicken (the joojeh in the name) served with grilled tomatoes and fluffy rice.
Recommended dish: Lamb seekh kebab (starter)
Tayyabs’s cult following shows no sign of abating and the ‘stack ’em high’ mantra applies to everything at this iconic Punjabi canteen, from the spicy lamb chops and tandoori naan to the seekh kebabs. These packages of seasoned ground lamb are worth the visit alone. It’s BYO, so bulk-buy your beers before you arrive.
Recommended dish: Vegan döner
It was only a matter of time before kebabs got the vegan treatment, and this flagship branch of What the Pitta! is custom-built for trend-conscious Camden. Nuggets of marinated soya (that’s the ‘meat’) are packed into thin, floury home-baked flatbread with crunchy salad, soya yoghurt, tzatziki and houmous. The whole thing looks and tastes almost healthy! There are outlets in Boxpark Shoreditch, Boxpark Croydon and Brighton.
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