The kebab. Doubtlessly the staple food of nightlife the world over, perfect for that moment when you realise that your chances of picking up for the night have all evaporated and you seek solace amongst the layers of greasy meat and garlic sauce as you stagger home alone. Now while few people are going to question their status as king of the drunken late night snack, if done well kebabs, and by association kebab shops, can actually represent an excellent dining option when one is sober and hasn’t just been singing Oasis’s “Wonderwall” with one’s arms around one’s mates’ shoulders. However, the key phrase here is “if done well”.
Let me just explain what I mean here. While I was living in the UK I had to suffer though their version of kebabs which are, for the most part, strange and terrible creatures. Instead of the delicious chunks of lamb served in warm Turkish bread I’d grown up with over here, the meat looks like a large, spinning turd on a stick and is shaved off in greasy ribbons that come served in cold naan. To make matters worse, they don’t even wrap them up, but rather serve them open in a Styrofoam tray, leaving you to try and manage stray donner meat and sloppy, sauce-covered salad with one of those shitty little plastic forks, a feat that is difficult enough sober but when intoxicated becomes a recipe for both intense frustration and stained shirts. Also, the chicken tends to be marinated in this horrible, fluorescent red tandoori stuff. All in all, not a very pretty or appetising picture.
In general, I’ve found that a key indicator of a country’s kebab quality is Turkish immigration. This style of cuisine comes from that part of the world; they love them and are good at making
them. Thus, UK = relatively little Turkish immigration and terrible kebabs, Australia, Germany and Austria = lots of lovely Turks making awesome kebabs. However, this is no hair-brained hypothetical hypothesis. I can back it up with hard evidence, namely Ankara Kebabs and Turkish Bakery in Inglewood (right next to the Inglewood Hotel). This unassuming little kebabery might not look like much at first glance, but inside you’ll find some of the finest kebabs in town. Not only that, but being as it’s a bakery as well they make their own lavash bread and also offer a range of other Turkish fare such as Gozlemes and Pides, Turkish bread and dips, which are a delicious alternative to the traditional late night lamb sandwich. The Jumbo burger is also great and comes stacked with fillings and topped off with grilled Turkish sausage. They also have some tables and chairs in an adjacent room, so one is able to sit down and enjoy one’s kebab rather than being forced to scarf it on the pavement like some lowly hobo. Bonus!