It’s been a long time since Matt has turned out of a pub at a late hour and teetered into a kebab shop on...

It’s been a long time since Matt has turned out of a pub at a late hour and teetered into a kebab shop on the way home. In fact, since his days as a student, last century, he’s found no particular reason to enter a kebab parlour… until now. Strolling down Union Street with junior reviewers Bill and Jack he found himself strangely drawn to the Charcoal Grill.

Charcoal Grill, Ryde

This is an establishment which, positioned as it is squarely in the middle of a bustling night-time economy, must serve quite a lot of food to the traditional customers of a kebab shop, the night-time revellers. Despite this, it has a large delivery menu, and opens during the day when it seems to do reasonable business.

Matt and the lads entered the shop, which was small and bright, and perused the garish and reasonably-priced menus. Just about any takeaway offering that could be imagined was there, the normal shish kebabs were laid out smartly in the cool cabinet, and two large doner racks rotated at the back. Bill and Jack both chose a simple cheeseburger and chips. Matt was swayed by nostalgia and ordered a large doner, but was at the last minute struck by a novelty – chicken doner, which was unheard-of last time he entered a kebab shop although it’s now common fare in many takeaways. So chicken doner for Matt it was. The waiting time was minimal, and the food was prepared under the twitching noses of the hungry customers. A selection of sauces and salads were offered by the friendly assistant, who then wrapped the meals up into a convenient carry-out bag.

On returning home the still piping-hot treat was distributed for for the eager chaps to eat, in traditional style, from the paper. Bill and Jack reported very favourably upon the burgers, which were quite large. Whilst the chips were not the freshest they certainly fulfilled their purpose. The chicken doner that Matt unveiled was a spectacular beast – brimming with salad, and massive chunks of marinated chicken. To Matt’s dismay he rediscovered that a main ingredient of kebab salads is raw onion. No doubt the chaps in the Charcoal Grill would have left it out if he had had the wit to ask them to do so, but on this occasion he was obliged to pick it all out by hand. This still left a hefty portion. Matt tucked in with enthusiasm, and found chicken doner to be tasty, but a lot greasier than its traditional lamb-derived cousin.

So the Charcoal Grill is well-priced, well positioned, and serves an impressive range of food. It’s not going to get any gourmet accolades, but then nor will many late-night kebab houses. If you want fast food in generous portions, Charcoal Grill will provide.

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  • D

    9th November 2009 #1 Author

    Since the Criminal closing down of Gourmet Pizza (did anyone else ever use them? Their pizzas were fab!) and the conversion of Mr B’s into Spice Express, Ryde has had an alarming lack of a decent pizza takeaway. The last pizza I had from Dino’s was raw dough and The Grill (can’t remember it’s more recent name) had about 1/2″ of cheese on it – too much! And Michaelangelo’s pizza’s are not up to the standard of their other dishes – very biscuity! A couple of weeks ago I was unexpectedly recommended by a colleague to use the Charcoal Grill for pizza’s. Yep, pizza’s! Now I’m not gonna say a Charcoal Grill pizza is like being transported to Tuscany but they are an unusual and generous square shape – taste pretty good (think Domino’s for those who have tried them) and are well cooked. Definately better than 95% of what you can get in the supermarket anyway. Also their Kofte kebabs are good – think jumbo spicy lamb skinless sausages and you’re there – drizzled in garlic mayo 2AM heaven!

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  • Bapsy

    31st October 2009 #2 Author

    It’s a nice place. I use to go there alot when I lived in Ryde 4-5 years ago. One of the guys still works there (Perhaps the owner not sure) and still to this day he will say “Alright mate” if I see him in the street. I was never a “regular” but went fairly often, and it is a suprise that even after being vacent from Rydes streets for a year he still remembers me.

    I’ve seen a couple people comment on the chips here, saying “not the freshest” and another “not so great” but I have to disagree. The chips here is what made the place for me. While they have gone up in price from the old £1 that they use to be (Everything has these days though) they are very much worth the cost (Side-note though, the portions aren’t as big as they use to be, so up them charcol grill!). I have to say that I prefer these chips than any other fast food place – KFC, McDonalds etc, or even the traditional fish and chips shops Tony’s (Or whatever it’s called now) and the like. I have a couple favourites here, The cheese on chips with thier ketchup (Strangely, tastes different to normal stuff, and better) or the ULTIMATE – Chips with thier garlic Mayo. Seriously, that stuff is better than sex, especially if you bring it home and tuck in 20 minutes later where the mayo has seeped through the wrapper.

    Thier burgers from what I remember were always quite nice (not the best, but better than most) with a fair size to them and lots of toppings and thier Donner kebabs are just awesome. I’ll be honiest, I haven’t had many donner kebabs from anywhere else so I can’t compair, but from what I have had, these are certainly the best, and thier size is always good.

    Last weekend I bought some chips and a kebab and I couldn’t eat it all. normally my eyes are bigger than my belly but I can get through them regardless, this time I couldn’t (Ma of been to much beer to) however one downside was the chilly sauce I had on it, it wasn’t nearly as nice as I remember it had been, I had to scrape of most of it (Though it was quite hot, but that isn’t the issue, I like hot food). Strangely, my cat actually stole some from the box, chilly sauce included. Now, my cat isn’t like that and will always sit patient waiting, this however was like a starving lion desperatly fighting her prey, so they must be doing something right there.

    Lastly they have quite a nice selection of Salad and are quite generious in giving it. Sadly, I dislike most salad so I leave it out (though may have a tiny bit of lettuce)

    No place is perfect however, I would prefer it if they wore gloves. I haven’t personally seen them wash thier hands (No doubt they do!) but I was watching one guy slam his hand sinto the salad then go grab some meat from the donner. I wouldn’t call them unclean, though as I said, I’ve not seen them wash thier hands but it isn’t something I look out for, the problem I am thinking here is, if someone is a vegitarian then they are touching the salad after messing with thier meat. No big deal for me personally, may be for some.

    Tasty food, nice selection, fairly decent price, good location, friendly staff and good sized portions.

    All in all, I would give this place a 8.5 out of 10.

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  • The Billo-bob

    8th November 2008 #3 Author

    I remember that place, chips… Not so great.
    Burger… Nice, big and meaty with some melting cheese. Doesn’t get much better, wouldn’t you say?
    -This is the Billo-bob saying goodnight!

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