To celebrate the recent ‘Something On A Stick’ day, it’s time to go gaga over skewered morsels in the capital. No-fuss, no cutlery – just plenty of napkins!
Chinatown’s Manchurian Legends will take you on a taste journey with its specialist Dongbei menu, which refers to the food eaten in the northeastern provinces of China – traditionally more rustic in style. The ‘sticky’ dish to order is the chilli lamb. Marinated lamb is decorated with chilli, sesame seeds and cumin and served on several skewers and once you have had one, it’s almost guaranteed that you’ll need more. And more and more.
Manchurian Legends, 16 Lisle Street, WC2H 7BE
Turkish food at its very best is hard to find in London but by heading east, you can experience true Turkish delight at Mangal 1 Ocakbasi. An unfussy, unpretentious menu of grilled meat and flatbreads can be ordered in the equally simple dining room and there are often big queues for their mixed mezze and kebabs. Cooked on an open coal fire, take your pick from any of the skewered selection but the lamb sis kebab is divine. Just leave room for a delicious Lahmacun (Turkish pizza) as a side.
Mangal 1 Ocakbasi, 10 Arcola Street, E8 2DJ
In the Pix
Forget the bbq or traditional kebab, at PIX dining on a stick is a completely different experience. Inspired by the way the Spanish eat, traditional tapas bites are already prepared and arranged ahead of time. Pintxos (spikes) are the sticks that hold together the individual snacks and you simply take a plate and gather what you want to eat, returning to the buffet as many times as you want. Short sticks indicate a snack worth £1.95 and a longer one, £2.95. Typical bites include calamari, honey-glazed cod fritters, meatballs and the classic tapas dish, patatas bravas. Perfect for a quick, light lunch with friends.
PIX, 63 Neal St, WC2H 9PJ
When you fancy chicken satay, where better to eat than a restaurant dedicated to the dish. Satay House in Paddington serves beautiful Malaysian food and specialist satay dishes. The meat version includes chicken or lamb with a sticky peanut sauce and rice, but there’s also a vegetarian version with tofu which is helpful. Bubur Pulut Hitam is the dessert to opt for if you can fit it in – coconut milk rice pudding with a hint of spice – it’s worth leaving space for.
Satay House, 13 Sale Place, W2 1PX
A taste of Brazil
If today’s bets weren’t your best, it might be worth considering Brazilian barbecue restaurant Cabana. This small chain cooks skewered meats over an open fire but prices are very reasonable. The Spicy Malagueta Chicken is made up of cubes of meat covered in a sticky, spicy sauce served with sweet potato fries, while you can also opt for skewers of pork ribs with slaw on the side. The beef hanger steak skewers are also worth a mention and order the crispy fried rice balls if you’re really hungry.
Cabana, 56 Upper St, N1 0NY