The other week I suggested my friend Ms S check out the new lunch menu at Mandira on my behalf. I wish I could’ve joined her, but moving has meant no time for adventures lately. So Ms S used this as an excuse to get away from the office and have a more exciting lunch hour!
Over to Ms S… I’m lucky enough to work in Central London, and whilst in theory I’m spoilt for choice of cafes and restaurants, in reality I tend to bring in my own packed lunch and eat at my desk – a habit I really need to break out of. Mandira can be found on Long Acre in Covent Garden, and prides itself on being London’s home of traditional Turkish strained yoghurt.
The concept is a bit like Hummus Bros – they offer pots of natural yogurt with a mix of sweet and savoury toppings, alongside Turkish Simit bread (a little like a pretzel crossed with a bagel), fresh oven baked latkes, bio live smoothies and authentic Turkish coffee. Everything is cooked and prepared in house, daily, and made to order – so it’s as fresh as can be. Recently, Mandira has also added a few brand new egg dishes to their menu, including a baked breakfast pot(served anytime) and an egg simit salad.
With my mind made up (I’m not gonna turn down baked eggs, ever), I couldn’t wait to dig into the Turkish Breakfast Pot. Two poached Breckland Farm eggs inside a pot of strained yogurt with a sprinkling of paprika. The dish also comes with sliced Simit dippers, but as I unfortunately can’t eat sesame seeds I had to pass on those. In the end, I found the pot perfectly proportioned, and honestly didn’t feel like I actually needed any bread. The yoghurt was perfectly smooth and silky, and the eggs poached to perfection.
On the side, I also tried two of the oven baked latkes, the zucchini and feta, and the supergreen with leeks. I’m always looking for ways to fit veg into my diet as I can’t eat it raw, and I can’t have too much of it. These latkes were ideally sized and cooked to perfection, with the feta one being a stand out. Crunchy, sharp and beautifully flavoured, they complimented the yoghurt extremely well. I actually ended up using them as dippers to scoop up every last morsel!
Mandira also kindly gave me a miniature bio-live bowl to round the meal off. This you’d normally choose from a pre-set menu of full size sweet and savoury options. I plumped for the baked aubergine and tomato, which is served cold. It was surprisingly refreshing, and in the summer would make a perfect snack to take to the park.
With everything I tried, the flavours were sublime and the food satisfying and filling without being heavy or stodgy (not that there’s anything wrong with stodge!). I was impressed that the staff accommodated my various intolerances without batting their eyelids. I also learned they catered for vegan, gluten free and nut free diets. Before I left I was given three of the dessert pots to take home, which I actually donated to my boyfriend. I was still far too full from all the delicious food I’d sampled! For an average day, the Turkish Breakfast Pot itself is plenty enough – and at only £4.50. It’s a reasonably well priced for a fresh and healthy lunch option. I’ll definitely go back!
P.S. Ms S checked out Mandira for me, her lunch was comped, but all opinions and photos are hers.
P.P.S. Mandira is located at 78B Long Acre, London WC2E 9NG.