Tuesday, June 24, 2008

A kebab 'diferente'

London can revitalise you instantly, as well as it can suck the life out of you. I have been sitting in the kitchen of my house, at the same spot for the last 3 days. I had only gone out twice to buy some 'double cream' stuff although I wished for a yoghurt, from the shop at the corner of my street. So, I have decided to walk into Kentish Town, the neighbouring centre to find some decent Doner Kebap and have a change of air. A small walk has actually brought back some meaning of life to my recenty miserable, hard-working being.

I walked down Kentish Town Road, withdrew some money and looked around for a decent restaurant. Either have I missed the Turkish "Villa" Restaurant or they were being replaced by another one. I did not really like the Lebanese ones I've passed by neither as they seemed to be a bit more expensive as well. I made my way to the Regent's Canal by Camden Lock, and walked along it to reach Camden Town, a short 10-12 minute walk from where I live.

By that point I had already decided to go to Marathon Restaurant, a Turkish kebab-shop run by 6-7 fellow Sivas men, near Chalk Farm, just a few minutes northwest of Camden Town. From the outside it is a very ordinary kebab shop. Indeed, when you go inside, there is still nothing extraordinary as you are introduced to a shallow corridor with 4 tables on your right side, and the counter, the kebab stove, and the regular Turkish kebab-collar workers on your left side. What makes this place unique is the room that is hidden in a dim-light across an arch where the corridor and the eating place ends. This room, covered by bricked walls is a venue for live music every weekend after 12 PM. And above all, this treat is free, unlike many other things around Camden. The quality of the acts appearing vary from a on-the-spot drunkard ending up with a guitar in his hand -- to a locally respected band. So, if you haven't had enough for the night, or just stopping by to grab a late-night Doner Kebab, it is a fabulous free treat to go with your garlic and chilli sauce.

This I knew before as well. Today, I just went there around 7 PM to grab a late lunch, early dinner. The place was filled with Tarkan music, one of his albums that had summer hits all over it (Kuzu Kuzu, Hup, etc...) that must have come out around 6-7 years ago. It instantly filled me with summer mood, thanks to the decent weather we're enjoying in London as well. There I was, enjoying my big meal with some Sivas men, talking about the Turkish football team, overhearing Tarkan. As I grabbed the last bite of my Pita (Pide), I noticed something new. I knew the shop was selling beer (and I had some to accompany my meals before), but never realised that they had a variety of drinks such as Bailey's or gin. It is not very rare but it instantly flashed a memory with the help of dancy Tarkan tunes.....

---- little pause here as we're about to flashback----

.... We walked outside the "Platz der Luftbrücke" U-bahn station. It was a cold evening and I had one thing on my mind at the momen: "We have to get drunk and warm before we go in". As a rare occasion we were on time, actually much earlier than the concert time. It did not take us too long to get our bearings and figure out which way we had to go to reach the place. After all, the other side of the road belonged to a huge airport that was primarily used for the service of military aviation. After having figured out we had slim chances of finding some good deal for alcohol around the concert hall, we walked back to the main square, Pltaz der Luftbrücke thanks to my persistence. She said she did not want to drink before the concert and that we would get some beer inside anyways. Moreover, she was, from time to time, unhappy with me drinking as well although I rarely get wasted drunk to lose my sense of being. My persistence won over the chilly weather.

I looked around and spotted a corner shop across the square, either on Dudenstraße or Manfred-von-Richtofen Straße (and here I am obviously making use of Google Maps). As we approached the shop, a very familiar look shone up on our faces via the dim red lights coming behind the half-drawn curtains of the shop with an old and broken white sign outside of it that read a word that we would recognise easily. However, without even paying attention to that detail, I noticed the liquor and Tequila bottles over the counter and over a guy who looked more like a hairdresser with a properly religious tone. For our amazement, the shop was in deed Turkish, selling Turkish beer among many other spirits, but we were not most welcome as two youngsters going in there on a late Sunday evening asking only for some quick shots, and not even for some Doner Kebab.

I could convince her to have her share of Tequila shot as well, and we quickly walked away with another beer under my arm. We were getting warm, as I had reckoned, thanks to the Tequila rush to our blood and I was happy enough to have won the case that benefited us both. Some other beer (for me) and shandy (or Radler in that context, for her) followed a night that was accompanied by a very good Gotan Project concert and fun dancing...

Tarkan tunes in a Turkish kebab shop-cum-music venue in colourful Camden instantly reminded me of that corner Turkish shop in south Berlin, which was a mixture of a miserable Sunday evening local in a Bukowskian way that served as a great 'fuel station' on our way. This is precisely how London offers one with instant up's and down's and can revitalise a sleeping soul. I made my way back home from a variety of different streets, not only because I don't like walking the same way back, but also around Camden Town and Kentish Town are beautiful streets with some nice hidden churches, run-down historical baths, train stations and local pubs. I felt like sharing this with my environment as well as with the contributors to the story, but then again thought I would write it down as usual. As has been the case recently with me and a bunch of friends in a funny and stupid fashion of 'rhyming' the following might have crossed my mind:

You got no one to talk?
You feel like there is a clog?
Just go, scribble it down your blog
and get rid of the misty fog.


Ertu said...

that's a good one.

even made me feel like it could be interesting to visit London (which I never ever had had in my mind, not for a second. central and northern europe has always been more promising to me and I'm sure you know what I mean. anyway...)
I hope you're gonna spend a few years in each one of the major european capitals (obviously, cities like hamburg count for capitals here), and that way we'll be able to get a quick grasp of your observations...

sorry for my english. hope I didn't mess up. It'll surely improve, but that's a matter of time, you know..

ömer said...

Sagol Ertugrul'cum,

I'm sure you'd enjoy London, or be thrilled, at the least. Living is quite different though, I'm not sure how long I can last here. Hope to read more from you as well...

I'm not the person to say this but I don't think there's much room for improvement for the English anyway.

www.nemoramjet.com said...

Lovely new layout and great new posts!