Chilli lamb skewers at Manchurian Legends

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Manchurian Legend’s menu (I’m informed) is Dongbei-style, and features a lot of unusual dishes (and a whole section of tripe, organs, and other things I’d rather avoid) – while your standard Chinese-restaurant dishes are relegated to the if-you’re-going-to-be-boring set menus. Their lamb skewers are an absolute snip at £1.50 each, and no doubt would come lonely on their own plate if you ordered a single one alone.

“The lamb has taken on a rich, aromatic flavour”

These look like mini-kofte kebabs, on thin sticks you could certainly imagine picking up from a night-market stall-holder. The outside is encrusted with chilli and cumin, and I found myself gulping down water to stave off the spicy heat. This wasn’t especially because I’m generally a lightweight when it comes to chilli, but is likely to be more down to the fact I was guzzling the meat down, so delicious and moreish was it. The lamb, presumably beaten violently till tender, before being char-grilled, has taken on a rich, aromatic flavour, while the spices coating it add crunch, as well as a potency to the aroma that comes from the dry, sauce-free outside.

We ate these with a ‘big bowl chicken’, which I love at Silk Road in Camberwell (who, frankly, do it better), but this wasn’t absolutely necessary. I’d order a few of these skewers, pair them with a simple vegetable, fried in garlic, and write off the rest of the evening to slumber in a warm, meaty stupor.

There’s not much else to say: a simple dish, with strong, vibrant flavours, that works absolutely brilliantly, and with an expertise that comes from getting a particular thing right through practice. I’ll definitely be back.

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