Time Out says
Friendly warning! We're working hard to be accurate. But these are unusual times, so please check that venues remain open.
Please note, Mandira has now closed. Time Out Food editors, December 2018.
Mandira – a cute, clean spot on the far eastern end of Covent Garden’s Long Acre – bills itself as ‘London’s first fresh yoghurt bar’. It’s a slightly bizarre concept, but not a bad one, and most of the menu is indeed based around tubs of yoghurt, embellished with either sweet or savoury toppings.
Being lunchtime, I ditched the fruit, nuts, honey and herbs of the sweets and plumped straight for the savoury. A bowl topped with hummus and za’atar was over salty, and the texture – smooth yoghurt + slightly grainy chickpeas and a sprinkling of sumac – was odd, though by no means awful. Far better was a bowl strewn with good-quality smoked salmon, dill and excellent olive oil (an amazing bagel filling without the bread, basically); and then one topped with smokey aubergine purée, sharp cherry toms and nicely punchy chilli pepper.
The only problem was that none of this felt like a meal, per se: even with (or perhaps because of) a bag of tangy, oily bread chips, it all screamed ‘upmarket dinner party dips’ rather than lunch. Lucky, then, that Mandira also does an ace line in simit bagels: skinny, chewy Turkish breads best filled with mild kasseri goat’s cheese and Turkish-style cured beef (one of the best sandwiches I’ve had in eons and a steal at a fiver). Get one of those and demote those yoghurt bowls to dipping duty and you’ll be pleased as punch.