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Thursday 29 July 2010

Mmm, Meat: Testi

What draws you to London? Is it the buzzing streets, the superior shopping, the endless stream of festivals and exhibitions and screenings?

I'm a bit ashamed to admit it, but for me, London is all about the meat. Living with a vegetarian in the dark depths of Scotland will do that to a girl. In the weeks preceding a visit, I dream not of cocktails and afternoon teas, but of lamb chops and bulgogi. Don't judge me.

Thankfully my friends know me well, so when I arrived last week we headed straight to Testi, their local Turkish Ocakbasi restaurant on Stoke Newington High Street. We could have gone to any of the more well known grills in the area, but this one, my friend said, was special. "They do MEAT BREAD". (And lamb testicles. But let's just gloss over that).

We walked past the great charcoal grills and into the cosy, warmly lit restaurant to take our seats. Within minutes our starter arrived, a generous sharing platter of cold meze, served with warm, fluffy, freshly baked bread. Everything tasted fresh and hearty, including the dolma which were so delicious we squabbled over them.

Then came the meat - succulent lamb chops that had just the right mixture of crispy fatty outer bits and soft tender inner bits.

They were served with rice and a selection of tangy side dishes, like these tasty chargrilled onions in pomegranate juice. The famous "meat bread" was a revelation: thin slices of bread brushed in meat juices. Genius.

We smiled, laughed, and devoured it all, with sticky fingers and greasy mouths. It's not exactly on the tourist map, but do try to bring some old friends there on your next visit.

Because nothing says "I've missed you" like a plate of meat.

38 Stoke Newington High Street, N16 7PL


  1. I've recently moved to Stoke Newington and have discovered that Testi is just as amazing as you've described.

    I also had the same "They do MEAT BREAD" experience!!

    Nom Nom Nom.

  2. This is the second time I've heard about meat bread today. It's the most brilliant phrase. I now shan't be happy with my bread unless it's laden with meat.

  3. I live down the road from Testi and walk past it nearly every day...It's hard to choose on Stokey High St which meaty grill restaurant to go into! You've convinced me to go in for some Meat Bread. Maybe not the testicles, though...

  4. Ha ha, Testi! And they serve testes!

    Sorry, I'll get me coat.

  5. The fact that there are no good Turkish meat emporiums in Liverpool frequently depresses me to the point of tears. However, the next time I am in London, I am getting me some meat bread (which sounds like the best bread ever).

  6. I used to live in Stoke Newington and I thought Testi was pretty good...until I went to Mangal on Arcola Street in Dalston. Amazing.Alot better and really cheap.

  7. I have to say Mangal's chops are better, but the side dishes at Testi were really really delicious. And Mangal doesn't do MEAT BREAD.

    Miss Cay, there isn't a single Vietnamese or Korean restaurant here in Edinburgh. Feel my pain.

  8. We used to fight over the juice from a roast in which we soaked a piece of bread - YUMMY!!

  9. Looks so good. I might have absentmindedly licked my screen.


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