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Pasha Mangal

Restaurants, Turkish Balham
2 out of 5 stars

Time Out says

2 out of 5 stars

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A Turkish kebab joint and restaurant on Balham’s Bedford Hill.

Once upon a time, this site on Balham’s busy Bedford Hill was home to Marmaris, a scruffy but perfectly decent kebab shop. Its new occupant, Pasha Mangal, is smarter affair. Of sorts. I say ‘of sorts’ because you can still buy a takeaway doner from the front counter. Not only that, while the dining room has had a contemporary spruce-up, this has included a new flat-screen TV. There’s a limit to how upmarket a place can be with what sounds like Turkish MTV blaring from the telly, matching the ambience of a post-bev binge following a student club night.

The cooking is a seriously mixed bag. Of everything I ate, a plate of juicy chicken shish was best, especially as it came with crunchy red cabbage, fresh grated carrot, fluffy rice and an obligatory pickled chilli for an eminently reasonable £10.95. But the lamb shish, though generous in size, was oversalted and fatty; I’d rather a smaller portion of better-quality meat. It was the starters that were the biggest disappointment: the houmous had a good texture but was undeniably bland and came drizzled with a mediocre olive oil; there was decent flavour to the falafel but they were on the dry side; and baba ganoush, the celebrated smoked aubergine dip, had been padded out with other, cheaper vegetables. Service was sweet-natured and efficient, but Pasha Mangal will have to work a lot harder than this to win over the discerning locals of SW12.


Address: 3 Bedford Hill
SW12 9ET
Transport: Tube: Balham
Price: Dinner for two with drinks and service: around £60.
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