FLATBREADS, pitta, wraps, what a stodgy approximation to the real thing we find in our bog-standard kebab houses – and that’s before we get to the fillings.
You don’t have to be born in Turkey or Dalston to get the classic skewered meat receptacle fluffily right. Witness Phil Cook’s yeoman Yadda Yadda efforts in downtown Chorlton.
This pop-up menu has now gone permanent at Electrik bar, initiated by co-owner Luke Cowdrey, so famous in his DJ globetrotting days for his skewered meat consumption in Sarajevo the locals named him ‘The Kebab Man’.
Fellow Unabomber Justin Crawford and chef Cook share his passion for Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, Lebanese and Persian food and their Yadda Yadda menu features slow cooked meats, fresh fish, a mezze of street-food small plates with a strong vegan presence.
But it’s the kebabs I came for. What hits you first is the beauty of the flatbreads, home-made every day and easily the equal, say, of Comptoir Libanais in the city centre. True to the ‘no rules’ ethos of the menu the kebabs themselves stray beyond the classic Lebanese or Persian original, though there’s a place for Lamb Shawarma, a stalwart at that other Unabombers venue, The Refuge in the Principal Hotel.
What could be more eclectic than the couple I sampled? Lemongrass chicken with piquillo pepper, cucumber raita and green harissa (£8) and Korean steak with gochujang miso mayo, kimchi and crispy onion (£9).
The first gives fusion a good name, clean tasting with just enough chilli tang; the Korean flavourings of the second (above) offer a real umami whack but the steak itself is as tough as one of Kim Jong-un’s border guards.
Both the small plates we kicked off with hit the spot. Crisp crab biryani balls (£6.50), a kind of Indian arancini, came doused in raita and peppered with sumac and, left-field, pickled onions popped up. Great accompaniment to a pint of Track Sonoma session IPA.
Smoked almond dahl (£5.50) is richer than expected, dense with apricots, dates and coconut and slightly sweet for my taste.
The rest of the menu ranges from jerk white fish to sweet and sour pork belly to roasted cauliflower with North African spices. Offers running throughout the week and weekend include Monday Kebab Fight – £5 Flatz Kebab’s from midday.
Every Friday between 5pm and 9pm the bar hosts Yadda Yadda Friday People’s Club (Y.Y.F.P.C), aimed at the after-work crowd. Fusing a food and drink offering a complimentary beer, cocktail or wine with each Flatz Kebab, with a specially curated line-up of DJs delivering a mix of world music, Middle Eastern, Afro, reggae, 1930s swing and soul. Well, we did say it was eclectic.
Electrik, 559 Wilbraham Rd, Manchester M21 0AE. 0161 881 3315.