Cultural food evolution in the UK

27 July 2015 - 8:19am

The big cultural food evolution in the UK has seen a boom in Coffee Shops, Pub Restaurants, Casual Dining and of course the institution known as the Kebab House. “Doner kebab” translates literally as "rotating roast".

It's true that in the UK, the doner, more beer sponge than delicacy and often the greasy climax of a night's binge drinking, has suffered a bad press for years. A particularly fatty pitta might contain up to 2,000 calories. Britain is unique for having truly terrible kebabs on the high street.

An investigation sometime ago by trading-standards officers in Warwickshire discovered that out of 20 "lamb" kebabs tested, not one contained just lamb. A concoction of lamb, beef, pork and poultry, plus dangerous levels of pink dye, was the norm.

When you get down to it, a kebab is just decent bread, nice meat and fresh salad and changing attitudes towards them can show how amazingly delicious and healthy they can be.

Until now…. Times are changing and even restaurant critics are cottoning on to the joy of the kebab as a cheap, delicious, all-in-one evening meal. E Mono in Kentish Town, north London has been packed since the famously hard-to-please Giles Coren called it "the coolest restaurant of the year", while FM Mangal in Camberwell received a rave review in The Independent on Sunday. The street-food venture is also a great chance for young talents to get a taste of running a restaurant without the overheads.

For now, there is only one thing missing – drink. In Turkey, turnip juice is apparently a traditional accompaniment to the doner. I couldn’t ever envisage a similar arrangement in the UK although Turnip beer could be an option!

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