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We tried German Doner Kebab and Ocakbasi in Canterbury


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As I sauntered towards the kebab house, a worker with dark stubble and a white chef’s bandana watched me with wary eyes.

Ocakbasi of Kent in St Peter’s Street has for years been a favourite spot for drunken revellers to grab a bite after a night out in Canterbury.

We tried German Doner Kebab and Ocakbasi
We tried German Doner Kebab and Ocakbasi

So perhaps a sober customer walking into the takeaway at 5.45pm had taken him by surprise.

To be honest, he was right to be sceptical - as this was in fact the first stage in a taste test I was conducting.

I would later be visiting the new German Doner Kebab in the city centre to see who came out on top - the classic greasy takeaway or the flashy international chain.

As I arrived at Ocakbasi, the man behind the counter looked me up and down for a few excruciating seconds like a ruthless talent scout before muttering: “Yes, boss?”

His attention appeared drawn to what was happening through the shop window as I examined the menu, which was a half-cut punter's dream.

Ocakbasi of Kent in St Peter's Street
Ocakbasi of Kent in St Peter's Street
Inside Ocakbasi of Kent in St Peter's Street
Inside Ocakbasi of Kent in St Peter's Street

Burgers, pizzas, kebabs, wraps and fried chicken are all up for grabs, with booze and even cigarettes advertised - though it will cost you a whopping £16.50 for a pack of 20 Benson & Hedges.

"Could I have a large doner kebab and chips please?" I asked as I watched the glistening slab of lamb rotating on the grill behind the counter.

The request was met with another awkward silence and deadpan expression. He seemed distracted, with his attention again drawn to the shop window as he chewed gum.

"Any salad or sauce?" he mumbled. I asked for all the trimmings plus mayonnaise.

I handed over £6.75, sat down to wait in the deserted shop and noticed some tobacco spilled across my table.

The German Doner Kebab restaurant in Canterbury
The German Doner Kebab restaurant in Canterbury
Inside the German Doner Kebab restaurant
Inside the German Doner Kebab restaurant

Two minutes passed and my bag of grub was placed on the counter. "Yes please," he said, before disappearing through a dark doorway I assumed led to the kitchen.

I checked the temperature of the food and it was piping hot, so made my way to German Doner Kebab at the top of St George's Street.

As I approached the black shop front there was immediately a noticeable difference between the two outlets – this one had customers.

I was met by the mouth-watering smell of meat cooking, while pop music blared out across the restaurant.

The two self-service machines were out of use, so I was forced to order through one of the employees.

The food I ordered in Canterbury
The food I ordered in Canterbury

"Hiya," the chipper male worker said with a smile. I asked: "Can I have The Original German Doner Kebab, please?"

"Beef, chicken or mixed?" I was asked. I went with beef, with the price coming to £7.48.

I was given a buzzer which would let me know when my food was ready and sat down at one of the tables.

Two minutes later, my takeaway was served up and I dashed home to get stuck into the food while it was still warm.

First up was the Ocakbasi meat and chips.

The doner kebab from Ocakbasi of Kent
The doner kebab from Ocakbasi of Kent

I unwrapped a greasy sheet of paper which revealed the yellow polystyrene box - a well-known sight for kebab lovers.

As I lifted the lid, the heavy stench of meat was unleashed.

I was greeted by the thinly-sliced lamb doner meat, mayonnaise, salad - including cucumber, tomato, lettuce and red cabbage - and buried beneath were the chips.

The meat was of course greasy and reasonably soft, but I did crunch through some small pieces of gristle, and there was a liberal serving of salad, which was refreshing.

However, the chips were chewy.

The German Doner Kebab, with fries and sauces
The German Doner Kebab, with fries and sauces
The German Doner Kebab packaging
The German Doner Kebab packaging

Somewhat disappointed, I moved onto the German Doner Kebab.

It was packaged in a black triangular box, and accompanied with a box of fries, a hand towel and three signature sauces - garlic, yoghurt and spicy.

The doner itself was wrapped in a shiny orange packaging, which I tore apart.

A triangular wedge of thick sesame bread held the thinly-sliced beef, a small portion of traditional kebab salad and the three signature sauces.

The meat was succulent and salty, and the sauces were incredibly flavoursome

The Original German Doner Kebab
The Original German Doner Kebab
The three signature sauces: garlic, yoghurt and spicy
The three signature sauces: garlic, yoghurt and spicy

However, after a few mouthfuls, the bread overwhelmed the dish and became too heavy and was incredibly messy to eat.

The chips were well-seasoned but flimsy - which some people like but others hate.

The signature sauces were the highlight for me and were incredibly moreish.

Overall, I was impressed by the service and food at the German Doner Kebab - which was the clear winner in this kebab battle.

Ocakbasi Of Kent, St Peter's Street, Canterbury

Food: My salad was refreshing, but who goes to a kebab house for that? The chips were chewy and the meat was edible. ***

Drink: Plenty of drinks available, including booze. *****

Decor: A traditional kebab house style which is tried and tested. It was quite clean apart from tobacco left on the table. ****

Staff: Not particularly friendly, but it was speedy service and I was on my way within two minutes. ***

Price: At £6.75, a good-priced kebab and chips, but points deducted because of the chip fiasco. ****

German Doner Kebab, St Peter's Street, Canterbury

Food: The meat and sauces were incredibly tasty, and I was impressed by the chips. The sandwich itself was quite heavy though and, controversially, I would have liked more salad. ****

Drink: A good range of drinks, but more available at Ocakbasi. ****

Decor: A very inviting, clean, friendly atmosphere with music. *****

Staff: Friendly and welcoming. I was given my food within two minutes. *****

Price: Although it was more expensive than Ocakbasi at £7.48, the food was much better and worth the higher price. ****

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