Ryan Barrell puts his arteries (and his bank balance) on the line to find out which shop has the best doner kebab.
You’ve made it through the pre-drinks. You’ve downed jägerbombs and danced the night away. As you roll out of Timepiece, Arena, or whatever local establishment floats your boat, where is the first place you head?
Whether you’re a burger man or a cheesy chips girl, we all end up there. Sometimes it’s the best part of the night. Does Best Kebabs live up to its name? Is the Golden Horn really so golden? I put my arteries (and my bank balance) on the line to find out which shop has the best doner kebab.
Best Kebabs – £3.50
Pros – Cheapest kebab in town, the skinny guy behind the counter is an absolute lad
Cons – Passable taste
It certainly gets the job done – cheap and filling, perhaps what you want at the end of a night. Not always delicious, however. They have a decent range of sauces, but salad options are fairly limited. Sandwiched between two other kebab shops, Best Kebab should definitely be your port of call if you’re trying to save your wonga, but not necessarily the best choice in town for late night dining.
Mega Kebab – £3.99
Pros – Good location, decent flavour
Cons – Garlic sauce leaves something to be desired
There isn’t much to be said about Best’s neighbour. They’re fairly similar, both in atmosphere and portion size. The flavour is slightly better, the meat more aromatic, but it’s down to you if you think it’s worth the extra 49p. If you’re stumbling home from Arena, pop in by all means but don’t expect an instant foodgasm.
Raj India – £4
Pros – They offer to put your kebab on naan bread instead of a pitta for just £1 extra
Cons – Small portions, slightly repulsive sauces, not much salad choice
I can’t stress enough how convenient it is to have your kebab in naan bread instead of pitta. Not only is it a lot less heavy, it’s also much more portable. The more frugal among us, however, may choose to steer elsewhere, as the alien-vomit coloured mint sauce and measly “lettuce or onions mate” option can leave you wishing you’d chosen differently. The flavour is strong, exactly what you’d expect from a decent doner, just don’t hope for a mountain of meat if you’re going for the £4 option.
Justaste – £4
Pros – Great selection of salad, good location
Cons – Not always there, very salty meat
Located just outside of the Peacocks on Sidwell Street, the Justaste van likes to belt out some banging tunes to attract customers, and if you’re into salad on your kebab (I know, it’s vegetables, but they’re free) it’s definitely the place to be. It’s a shame that they’re let down by the salty flavour of the meat. If you’re a fan of veggies, Justaste is always worth a look, just try not to be too disappointed when they’ve decided not to show up that night.
Golden Horn – £4.50
Pros – Great meat, great portion sizes
Cons – Most expensive kebab in town
Ah, Golden Horn. Many-a-fresher has fallen for her delights on a Thursday night as they spill out of Rococo’s at 1am. My experience has been fairly inconsistent, but when they’re on it, they cook a mean kebab. Even the chicken doner is good (if you’re into that sort of thing) which is much more than can be said for the poultry options on Sidwell Street. The price is a little high, but the portion sizes make up for it. The kebab meat is well-cooked, but still moist. If you can afford it, Golden Horn will always be a good choice if you just can’t wait to get something cheaper.
I’ve tasted a lot of good kebabs over my time here, I’ve seen the wonders of a XL doner with cheese, and felt the horror that follows chomping down on something indistinct in a chicken doner.
So where does my heart lie? Taking account of all factors, the best doner kebab in Exeter would have to be Golden Horn’s. The price is made up for by the generous portions, and the meat is just too good. Whether you’ve been standing in three different queues in Mosaic all night or trying to get to the bar in Rococo’s, Golden Horn’s kebab will see the night off to a good end.