By Koray Hussein
This past week I was lucky enough to return to my favourite place to eat in the entire city, Umut 2000.
If you’ve read my initial review of Umut 2000 down below, then you’ll see just how highly I rate this place. The meat is always superbly cooked and if it wasn’t for places like Voodoo Ray’s and Neon Burgers (and of course, Maybe It’s Because), I’d probably visit the area exclusively for the food on offer at Umut.
In my first review of Umut 2000 I went for a mix of lamb shish and kofte, with rice… but that isn’t exactly what I usually get when I visit.
My usual, is a lamb shish wrapped in some of the most flavoursome bread you will ever eat in a restaurant with a beautifully simple onion and parsley salad, dressed with lemon juice and and an offensively underused spice called, sumac.
The presentation may not be as grand as the other dishes, as the entire thing comes wrapped in paper with a small plastic bag around the bottom but what this bad boy lacks in looks, it more than makes up for in taste.
The key to eating shish wrap at Umut 2000 is to unwrap it from the top in a swirl-like motion, slowly work your way down as you eat. Or, to put in a different (much more disturbing way) that one of the (now gone) waiters told me a few years ago, you need to “Unwrap it like a woman!”. I never got around to asking him why he was unwrapping women as the less I knew, the better. This is one way to spot a regular from a newbie as a lot of the newer customers will unwrap the entire thing before eating, resulting most of the contents to spill out on to the paper/table.
In my eyes there really is no better meal out there than this lamb shish wrap. Super Kebab down the street (review coming soon) may have won the Best Takeaway Kebab In London 2015 but they’re just plain wrong. Umut (along with Best Turkish Kebab also just down the road… and also will be reviewed over the coming weeks) is better. Much better.
Make the trip and see for yourself. I promise you, you won’t be disappointed.
Originally Posted 23/07/14
By Koray Hussein
Let me make up a hypothetical story to put this review in perspective.
One day I wake up, make a moderately enjoyable breakfast, let’s say eggs because eggs are the shit. I check my emails whilst scoffing down my eggs and find out that Shakira has divorced that annoying bastard who plays for Barcelona and has sent me a friend request on Facebook with that little winking emoji. From there I go to the local corner shop pick up a Pepsi and a newspaper and head back home.
I open the can to find out I’ve won free Pepsi for the rest of my life and the back page of the newspaper has a full page spread of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi both wearing Arsenal shirts. Let’s say Thierry Henry is the manager too, because why not?
Later that day I go to Umut 2000’s for a meal and then head home to watch new episodes of Fawlty Towers and Black Books.
The best bit of that hypothetical day? Umut 2000.
There’s a very good reason for this: Umut’s (I’m getting rid of the 2000 because I feel like I’m talking about a robot) serve some of the very best lamb I’ve ever had. Seriously. The shish, kofte, ribs and chops are all amazing and could make a vegan blush.
That’s not to say the rest of their lambless (that’s now a word) meals aren’t great too. Umut’s serve some really nice cold and hot meze which makes it pretty difficult to pick between them. It’s taken me over three years to get my basic meze/starters order set in stone as they are all lovely and it’s extremely difficult deciding what to omit so there is room for the actual mains. Now, we (usually) settle for a plate of hummus, patlican (aubergine), hellim (halloumi), the two provided salads (their onion and parsley salad is ridiculously good) and warm, lamb juice soaked bread.
Moving on to the mains:
Nine times out of ten, when I walk into Umut’s I order a lamb shish wrap, which is one of my most favourite meals in the entire world. It really is a meal that I could eat every single night for the rest of my life and never complain. But seeing as I wanted to get a shot for Maybe, I couldn’t really order the wrap.
The thing about this little bundle of goodness is that you’re not actually meant to unwrap the entire thing before you eat it. Instead you’re meant to unwrap it as you work your way down so that it keeps it’s shape and doesn’t drop little pieces of lamb all over the place. So even though the wrap has outstanding flavours and is unbelievably delicious, I thought I’d go for something more… photogenic.
I went for the kofte and shish mix with rice and cacik (yoghurt with diced cucumber, sprinkled with mint and drizzled with olive oil).
Both the kofte and shish were perfectly cooked and soooo sooooooo soooooooo juicy. I don’t know how these guys do it. The quality of the food is so consistent and blows me away every single time I visit.
I cannot recommend Umut’s enough as it really is one of best Turkish restaurants I’ve ever been to.
And if you’re too stuffed to leave straight away, I recommend capping the meal off with one of their beautiful Turkish teas.
Do you know of another kebab house which we need to try out? Let us know in the comments or tweet us at @maybeldner.
Oh, if you were wondering. The Shakira friend request would almost certainly come in at number two on the list of my favourite parts of that day.