Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Adulis - Eritrean Restaurant Review

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 pancakes.

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 and chilli.
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 restaurant’s website.

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 desserts?

Coffee Ceremony
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.

1 comment:

Petra08 said...

Sounds very interesting and different, must try it!