Sunday, 1 March 2009
Best Vs Crystal - Part 1
Word reached us of the troubles on Holloway Road so we sent local resident Oliver Jakeman to find out the true story.
In N19 there is a war, a bubbling rivalry which threatens to divide all those who reside within the locus of the post code. Like a roundhead or cavalier, both factions fight to be the most prominent and dominant force in their land. Kebab land that is. The question is - is Best best? Or does Crystal shine brighter than its’ boastful neighbour?
I walked into Crystal around 6pm on a Wednesday and the first thing that strikes you is how busy it is. The men behind the counter move in sweaty unison, like hirsute synchronized swimmers, as meat sizzles and sears on the traditional charcoal grill. The heady aromas of hard graft and meat are overpoweringly delicious and send my stomach into a frenzy.
I took a seat in one of the corners of the restaurant. On a bright green wall hung a wonderful picture that I would pay to come and see alone, never mind eat anything. The image, depicting a loud Technicolor landscape with prancing house and moving waterfall, really blew my socks off and left me feeling hungry, don't ask why.
The menu is considerably less colorful than the decor of this little north London gem, and reads something like this: meat, meat,meat, stew, baklava, humous, and more meat. While choosing my meat I am presented a basket of flatbread, chilli and yoghurt sauce by a glum but pretty waitress. While I nibbled at the bread that same waitress (with what I think was a smile, but it might have been indigestion) came to take my order of a crystal special with rice and a can of coke - all of which came to a grand total of £9. Don't be put off the price, there is so much meat that I began to sweat just at the sight of it. From left to right of the plate sat two adana kebabs (a sort of spicy sausage of minced lamb resembling two of King Kong's fingers), next to that a plentiful portion of doner meat, sheesh kabab, pork chops salad and rice. The food does exactly what it says on the tin: it's filling and full of flavor but that's what you come to expect in any kebab shop, well the filling part at least. But it's the atmosphere here that makes me want to come back; there's a hum of happiness which emanates from the pores of every customer filling the air with a content smell. As I pay the bill I'm given a piece of baklava on a tooth pick - a nice touch which only emphasizes the sweet taste which i already had in my mouth.
Crystals has a new fan and its left me thinking that Best kebab is going to have to live up to it's name if it's compete with this power house of the kebab world.
Part 2 coming soon.