Worth seeking out or just another take away for tired, drunken locals?
E. Mono is a renowned kebab restaurant and take away in Kentish Town that also has a second outpost within the confines of Finsbury Park station. Whereas the Kentish Town original has lovingly restored Edwardian premises, the Finsbury Park location is a much more ordinary retail space. It’s primarily a take away, but there is a counter and a handful of tables for a quick sit down.
Everything at E. Mono costs £3.99, but you can pay an extra £2 for a larger portion of your chosen stomach liner. Everything comes wrapped in lavash -a firm, floury flatbread that can become a little tough and cracked if not eaten very promptly. The salad is mostly there for extra moistness and you can also have, if you want, a ladel of punchy garlic sauce and a lightly spicy chilli sauce too. It’s all tightly wrapped, although inevitably there is some sauce leakage from the bottom.
Shawarma is just another term for a doner kebab and the lamb version was firm, moist and offaly. It was also a little greasy, but not disastrously so. The chicken shawarma was a little dry with a dab of grease here and there, but also a little smoky which went well with the garlic and chilli sauces.
Surprisingly, the chicken shish was better than the lamb shish. The latter was moist and firm, but otherwise unremarkable. The chicken shish, on the other hand, was moist, tender and lightly smoky.
The best kebab of the lot has to be the lamb kofte though. Fluffy, tender, moist sausages of lamb flecked with herbs and chilli.
One of the few vegetarian alternatives available is the falafel, but this was clearly an afterthought. Although the balls had the distinctive nutty taste of chickpea, they were also a little too hard and stodgy which doesn’t go well with the firm lavash. The cursory smearing of hummus was drowned out by the garlic and chilli sauces.
Despite having to deal with a cavalcade of drunks and Arsenal fans on a regular basis, the staff deserve kudos for their unflappable politeness and efficiency.
The Finsbury Park branch of E. Mono is definitely better than most run-of-the-mill high street kebab joints, but unless I’m very tired or in a massive rush I’d rather take the short bus ride or walk to get to Green Lanes for my kebab fix.
Name: E. Mono (Finsbury Park)
Address: 16 Station Place, Finsbury Park, London N4 2DH
Phone: 020 8045 4188
Opening Hours: seven days a week 11.30-23.30.
Average cost for one person including soft drinks: £5 approx.