Crystal Charcoal

  • 020 7281 2846
  • 522 Holloway Road
  • N7 6JP
  • almost 24 hours. go, it'll be open.

This has got to be one of the finest Turkish restaurants in London.

Starters are very tasty. Good home-made dolma, dips and salads are lovely, but they tend to bring a large basket of bread and some yoghourt and hot red stuff with olives and pickled chillies, so starters are a bit much unless you're an absolute pig.

The main courses range from about �2.80 for a large plate of delicious Falafel, chips or rice and fantastic fresh salads to about �7 for a seriously terrifying plate of delicious meats. A large lamb shish kebab costs about �4.50 (small about �3) and is *really* tasty. Very tender and well cooked. All the standard kebab house fare is on offer: donner, shish, chicken, lamb etc.. and it's all good.

But what sets Crystal apart is the stews. My GOD the stews are out of this world. My favourite is the standard Guivech (lamb stew) with tomatoes, onions, aubergine, rice and more lovely salad. The vegetarian stews are equally good.

I think they do serve Efes beer... but my tipple of choice is the Ayran yoghourt drink (about 70p/glass) which deals with the worst effects of excessive chilli consumption.. but only adds to the general problem of overeating whenever I go there.

If there's one thing that is'nt so good - it's the Lamachen - Turkish pizza things (did you know the Turks invented pizza?) - but according to my flatmates Turkish girlfriend, the Crystal guys are from the opposite side of Turkey to the one where Lamachen is a popular dish, so their's isn't so great. But don't take my flatmates word for it about that, he might well have been talking out of his arse. It is true about the less-than-perfect lamachen though, if you want good lamachen go to Green Lanes.

The other best thing about Crystal is the atmosphere. Really socailly mixed crowd - sit-down-diners, in-for-a-kebab-after-the-pubbers, turkish people (always a good sign in a turkish restaurant) and turkish food lovers of all descriptions. And the staff are lovely.

[GeorgeBrisco]? I believe that this place is closed for refubishment at the moment (Jan 2004). It sounds fantastic though!

Update: Crystal has since reopened (Jul 04). They appear to have also bought a larger shop a few doors down and are half way through converting it. Go after a few beers in the Swimmer nearby - it's worth a trip.

Last edited 2004-07-21 18:36:51 (version 11; diff). List all versions.