I knew it was trouble when I walked in. You’ve probably (maybe) read that Tay Tay (T Swizzle, Swifty, Taylor Swift, should it just be one Tay?) popped up in North London last week to shoot a portion of her latest video in a classic English kebab shop; namely Kentish Delight (KK, K Dizzle, Kentish Deee-Lite). Less well publicised is the fact that I have recently made Kentish Town my home and can see the hot spot from my door. For two weeks I’ve avoided the neon sign’s siren call on the way home from a late shift but, now it’s made the Sun, what choice did I have? Really Taylor, look what you made me do.
This isn’t exactly a comment on Miss Swift’s integrity or honesty as an artist, but I seriously fucking doubt she tried one of these kebabs. Naturally, the tabloids have been quick to find positive Google reviews to back up the superstar’s choice of venue, and the shop itself has a sign claiming to provide ‘the best kebab in London’ but here I am, about to accuse them of getting ever so slightly carried away.
On matters of taste, I try to avoid portraying myself as an expert. But I’d hardly say that kebabs can be categorised as such and, in this case, I know my subject. A good doner should be a visceral, near painful experience, each bite bringing fresh torment as you descend through the pits of hell. The slopping oil, stinging onion, distressed lettuce, fiendish pickles, cloying bread and seductive flesh enveloped in the all-consuming flame of the chilli sauce. It’s a finely orchestrated masochism of searing highs and stodgy lows.
Unfortunately, the mixed doner from Kentish Delight stands like a lone bassoon, blaring out a drone and crying into its chips. There’s no punch, no garlic from the mayo, no discernible difference between the chicken and lamb, no fun. What there is, despite asking otherwise, is tomato. Tomato and a sense of shame.
Granted, having only had one beer, I was far too self-aware while conducting this taste test. And yet, this was a kebab that delivered disgrace without gratification. I felt dirty, but not exhilarated. Think less bad blood, more septicaemia.
The good news is that I now have an excuse to go in search of a better kebab. Sometimes research is great. Kentish Delight, enjoy your moment of fame because we are never (ever ever) getting back together. Y’know, unless I’m pissed, because you’re pretty convenient.