Review: Efes Mangal, Braunstone Gate Leicester.

As some of you probably know, I’m the marketing manager for a group of independent pubs in the East Midlands. One of the things we constantly monitor is Trip Advisor.

A colleague of mine recently showed me that Efes Mangal on Braunstone Gate in Leicester was ranked at #2 despite being a relatively new restaurant in the city. So, in true food blogger style, I decided to go and check this Turkish restaurant out with my good friend Vicky to see what all the fuss was about!

Efes Mangal in Braunstone Gate, Leicester
Image taken from Efes Mangal website. 

We ate pretty early on – 7pm – but on the Friday night of a pay day weekend and this shows, the place was around half to three quarters full. To be honest, our immediate impression wasn’t great – the entrance and exterior are nice but the tables and decor are a little basic and the place was very well lit making it feel a little more like a cafe than a restaurant!

I have to say that the waiting staff were all excellent, attentive and knowledgeable on the menu. They were also patient with us as we kept stopping for a gossip and took an age to order (sorry guys!).

At the start of the meal we were brought flat breads with a garlicky tzatsiki, chilli salsa and olives and these were all delicious. The chilli salsa was really good, I finished it with a spoon once the bread was all gone!

Olives, tzatsiki and flat breads

To start we went for a couple of starters to share – Saksuka (slow cooked aubergines, onions, potatoes & peppers with a hint of garlic) and Sarma (vine leaves stuffed with rice, pine nuts, onions and herbs). The Saksuka was absolutely gorgeous – served cold but full of flavour.

Turkish Saksuka, aubergine starter
Sarma, stuffed vine leaves at Efes Mangal

For our mains, we both went for something from the charcoal grill menu. I have to say that the presentation of the mains was ‘interesting’ and to Vicky’s horror there was parsley on EVERYTHING. I didn’t mind!  I had the Chicken Shish which was served with salad, rice and a grilled chilli pepper. The chicken was well seasoned and full of flavour – you could see that it had been pulled straight off the skewer for serving. The rice and salad were nice but nothing special.

Chicken Shish
Chicken shish with rice and salad
Vicky had the Lamb Beyti, more interesting than my option – skewered minced lamb wrapped in a tortilla with yogurt and halep sauce. Halep sauce is traditionally served with Turkish kebabs and is made from garlic, parsley, chillies and lemon juice. The tortilla was really good but we found the lamb a little fatty which was a shame. The yogurt was nice too, there were two dollops on the plate so I stole some for my chicken which didn’t come with any sauce.  

Lamb Beyti dish
Lamb Beyti with rice

Overall, we enjoyed our meal but the bright lights made it feel a bit stark – it felt like more of a family restaurant than somewhere you’d go for a date or an intimate meal for example. I’m not entirely convinced that they should be quite as highly ranked on Trip Advisor as they are. I’ve eaten in plenty of restaurants around the city which are as good or better.

However, I would go back here again as the service was excellent and the food was nice on the whole. The prices are excellent too – the bill for us was £31.50 for 1 beer, 1 soft drink, 2 starters and 2 mains. Bargain!

*We paid for our meals and my opinions are all my own. 

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