The Niyazi Steak & Kebab house was opened in 1970 on Mare Street, Hackney in East London. The doner kebab shop was also probably the second or third of its kind to be opened in England. At first Ali Niyazi , a Turkish entrepreneur from Cyprus and his family had a hard time getting Londoners to even enter the shop and try this new foreign food that they had never seen before, some remarking “what is that a sponge cake?” as they stared quizzically at the doner kebab in front of them. By 1976 Niyazi was the place to be, with many delicious Turkish kebab dishes on offer, including Halep (Aleppo), Bursa, shish, sheftali (peach) and kofte kebabs, not to mention excellent quality steaks and lamb chops. Complementing the excellent food was Turkish music which many Londoners had never heard before. The large restaurant used to be packed with very happy diners getting a true Turkish dining experience night after night. At that time the restaurant became the most popular kebab house in London, often with large queues of people waiting to be served delicious kebabs of various kinds. Niyazi was most famous for the size of the doner spits that customers were served from, which would usually weigh in excess of 450 lbs! This was groundbreaking at the time, as doner spits of that gigantic size were unheard of, not just in England but probably worldwide! Most importantly however, the restaurant was known for the flavour and taste of the doner kebab, lightly
spiced with a wonderful meaty taste and slightly chewy melt in your mouth texture, which many Londoners could not get enough. Many of Niyazi’s old customers will happily testify that it was the best doner they have ever tasted, even to this day! So what was the secret behind the flavour of this doner that was so adored by Londoners in its heyday? A much older but even wiser Mr Niyazi will tell you that it is very important that the quality of the meat is of an excellent standard. He used the best lamb shoulders with the fat added to create an even better taste from the breast of the lamb. He will also tell you that you must never over spice
The Niyazi Steak & Kebab House
was opened in 1970.
Hackney in East London.
doner meat, the trick is in keeping it simple. Keeping spices light brings the flavour of the meat to the fore, because the key feature of the doner kebab must be the meat itself. Finally he will tell you to be clean, and to do a clean job. Niyazi’s successes have inspired his former employees to pick up his mantle. Osman Cinik worked at the steak and kebab house for seven years before opening his own shop, the incredibly popular “The Best Turkish Kebab” in Stoke Newington. Osman went on to become undeniably one of the best doner chefs in the world and arguably the best in England. His shop’s success is unparalleled and he is famous for making the best tasting doner in England, as well as serving his kebabs from doner spits weighing over a whopping 150 kg since he first opened his fantastic take away shop in 1984.