By complete coincidence, a friend who lives in Islington took me to Mangal on Upper Street on Thursday night, shortly after Simon had posted his recommendation. Unfortunately I didn't have a chance to taste the much-praised grilled lamb. We wanted a light meal and stuck to their mezze offerings, which I have to say were very tasty.
Having whetted my appetite for Turkish cuisine, I felt compelled to seek it out again on Saturday. While driving through Golders Green we noticed a new Turkish place had gone up across from the station. After spending a leisurely afternoon in Muswell Hill I was game for adventure and the place looked fairly clean and freshly painted (which for some reason inspired confidence) so we decided to stop. I'm very glad we did.
Truva (14 North End Road) was quite a surprise. For starters, the mezze was even better than that I had tasted at Mangal. We ordered the mixed mezze which included the usual dips and tabule in addition to cheese pastries, lamb meatballs, falafel and various types of marinated aubergines. Filled to capacity after round one, our main courses arrived. My husband had the Iskander which, with its mellow, peppery sauce was without a doubt the best example of that dish I have ever tasted. I wisely chose the simple but filling chicken shish. What made these two dishes exceptionally good were the cuts of meat used. Not a hint of fat or sinew - large chunks of the choicest, most tender bits of mouth-melting lamb and chicken breast, each piece marniated subtly to perfection - not an intrusive rubbery bit to be found.
Filled to capacity, unfortunately we had no room for dessert, only their lovely mint tea and a few pieces of pistachio Turkish delight. With no alcohol the meal came to an extremely reasonable £36 for both of us.
Like Mangal, Truva is very informal and unpretentious but the wait staff were exceptionally attentive and the manager very chatty. Apparently, they have only been open for four months and for those of you who put any stock in the restaurant reviews that appear in Time Out, they received a very favourable write-up. We would certainly go back.