Diyarbakir,Finsbury Park, London 15/20

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A NUMBER of big scale Turkish restaurants have emerged around north London, presumably off the back of the excellent Turkish Food Centre supermarkets. By big I mean 150 seater plus. I was not expecting to review this place but half way through the meal it was obvious, so apologies for the camera work being a bit slapdash.

Diyabakir is literally the place of the Bakir people but the new town is Amida in south east Turkey on the Tigris. This one is on Green Lanes, Harringay – there is a kitchen and a restaurant a few blocks apart. This is the green one at 52 and the other is at 69. The Turks have managed to deconstruct the essence of middle eastern cooking so it is both family friendly, healthy, good value and generally all round the kind of place you might want to sit alongside couples, single men, children, families. There are two things that set this apart – the hospitality of the staff and the attention to detail in the cooking. In the window are trays of rice and slow cooked stews, along the counter are the rows of meats on the skewers ready for the hot coals, I watched a family have a mixed grill which was pretty awesome. Platters start at £37 but are meant for sharing between four or six. Pickles and salad seem to arrive gratis, the patlikan still has the aubergine in tact, the bread is hot, the cacik is tart with mint and garlic. The lamucun start at £3.50. The Ezmeli Kebab ha been totally deconstructed – on one plate a mound of rice with pine nuts, a grilled tomato and a pile of thin slices of lamb off the fire, in another bowl medley of a salad to diy and in a third the chilli sauce.

I double checked myself on TripAdviser and sure enough I have support here – ‘best restaurant in north London’, ‘a gem’ etc. Back in the day when I used to run the Good Food Guide I was always most proud of finding and championing places that no one else, neither rival guide, nor critic, had come across. Got one here.

There is one caveat however, which is if you sit in the back then the décor has subtly come to resemble a disco in Bodrum and the music proclaims her dying love for a man of such machismo, or some such, you know what I mean…

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