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It was mine and a
friend’s birthday last week and on Saturday (14 January) we and
some other friends dragged our tired arses to Clapham Junction to try
a new Eritrean Restaurant called Adulis. It was a lovely experience
and one that I will try again.
This is their second
restaurant (the original being located in Oval, South London which
opened in 1996) and as a testament to its success they have been able
to open a new branch even in this current financial climate. The
restaurant is named after an ancient port city which was located on
the Red Sea in Eritrea. It was a thriving city in the first century
BC and was a major hub for trade between Yemen and cities of Nubia.
Large Injera Bread
Although I'd never had
Eritrean, it is virtually the same as Ethiopian food. You have Injera
with Tsebhi. Injera is a sough dough pancake made with Taff flour
which gives the pancake a unique tangy flavour. Tsebhi, which is a
stew made from either beef, chicken or lamb is placed on top of the
Injera along with vegetable and lentil dishes. You are then given
some more Injera and you use this to pick up the food, so it's very
“hands on!” Also it makes the restaurant's job easier as they
don't have to wash up any cutlery. You can have cutlery if you don't
want to use your fingers.
Extra Injera Bread
Tsebhi and Vegetable dishes
As most of our group
had never had Eitrean or Ethiopian food, the waiter recommended that
we go for the meal for 4, but make it for 7. So two large Injera's
were brought out and the following was shared between the two
Tibsi – Lamb cubes
fried in purified ghee with onions, rosemary and green chilli and
served with a side salad.
Dorho – Chicken stew
slowly cooked in a rich flavour of herbs, spices and chilli.
Adulis Special –
Chicken cubes fried in green chilli, spices, olive oil and herbs and
served in a charcoal heated clay pan.
Zighni – Spicy hot
beef stew slowly cooked to blend with a rich combination of spices
Spinach – cooked with
garlic, lemon, chilli and olive oil.
Alicha – mild curry
dish with carrots, beans and cabbage
Timtmo – Lentils
spiced and cooked in olive oil
Tsebhi on the Injera
There were four other
dishes but I cannot remember what they were and I couldn't remember
what was in all dishes listed above so I lifted the details from the
What I personally loved
was eating the Injera after we had eaten all the “stews,” because
it had soaked up the juices and the vibrant spicy flavours.
The only disappointment
was the desserts. These were just frozen and Italian based and lacked
any flavour. They were as bad as the main course was good and
slightly let the restaurant down. If they could do such a great job
with the main courses surely it can't be hard to do the same with
They also do a coffee
ceremony, which was a little confusing because it says it cost £9,
but doesn't say how many it is for. We asked and it made about 6
espresso size cups and was very tasty. On the menu it states that it
is a ceremony, but it's done away from the table and so you could
actually miss it. It would have been nice to be told what was going
on and to ask if we wanted to go over and watch. The actual ceremony
is a waiter roasting beans over coals which are then taken away to be
groun once ground they are served in a “jug” with popcorn on
the side. It also involves a pot that also has some hot coals in it
and frankincense is burnt on top, so whilst you drink the coffee you
are surrounded by a wonderful aroma. It was nicely done and
presented, if just a little disjointed.
The staff were polite
and helpful with big smiles and they explained in detail all the
dishes. It was just a shame I cannot remember every thing they served
but that is years of wine drinking for you.....
As I said earlier this
is a new branch and I guess they need time to settle down, but I
would recommend this place if you want something different, enjoyable
and don't mind getting your hands dirty.