Tale #42 Adulis

Sorry for the silence on this page. It doesn’t mean the beast hasn’t been being beastly, but rather that the beast has failed to write about such beastly adventures. Oh and merry belated Christmas, happy Kwanza, etc. to all followers of the Rav B.

The beast is currently laying low in New York consuming mass quantities of American cheese and bagels and failed to write about an amazing Ethiopian dining experience in London before leaving the Big Smoke for the Big Apple. So here it is.

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I had never really had much experience of or exposure to Ethiopian food until I started volunteering with Mazi Mas (remember Mazi Mas is that great social enterprise pop up restaurant business venture? Okay if you don’t, here is the info again: here. Working alongside two wonderful Ethiopian chefs and sampling injera, shiro and amazing Ethiopian coffee for the first time, I thought it was high time I tried out an Ethiopian restaurant since I had clearly been missing out.

When I first started looking into where to go I noticed that a lot of so-called ‘Ethiopian’ restaurants people were recommending were classified online as Eritean restaurants. Hmmm. What’s the difference between Ethiopian and Eritean cuisine? Good question.

Let’s start with a nice little historical lesson.

Eritrean and Ethiopian cuisine are very similar, given the shared history of the two countries.

Shared history in a nutshell: The Italians created the colony of Eritrea in the 19th century around Asmara. After World War II Eritrea was annexed to Ethiopia. In 1991 the Eritrean People’s Liberation Front defeated the Ethiopian government. Eritrea officially celebrated its 1st anniversary of independence on May 24, 1992. Hence the similarity between Eritean and Ethiopian cuisine and, the Italian influence in the food.

The conclusions I have drawn from my extremely lazy research attempts are that the main characteristic difference between Ethiopian and Eritean cuisine is that Eritrean cooking tends to feature more seafood than Ethiopian cuisine on account of its coastal location. Eritrean dishes are also frequently ‘lighter’ in texture than Ethiopian meals. They likewise tend to employ less seasoned butter and spices and more tomatoes. Additionally, owing to its colonial history, cuisine in Eritrea features more talian influences than are present in Ethiopian cooking, including more pasta specials and greater use of curry powders and cumin. So there you have it.  If anyone has any further useful knowledge on this, do let me know so I don’t have to rely on Wikipedia and try to pass it off as a credible source.

After that very long tangent, back to the Adulis review.

Overall, a great dining experience. Very friendly staff and timely arrival of beverages and cuisine. Other online reviews stated extremely long waits but I did not experience this.

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For those of you who haven’t had Ethiopian coffee, it is the real deal. This is the kind of coffee you could actually drink black it’s so good.

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The menu offers a variety of beef, lamb and fish stews, dulot (spicy fried tripe), and my personal favorite, shiro, finely ground chickpeas cooked in oil mixed with lamb cubes. For starters there are delicious sambusas (sounds like Indian samosas what?) which are fried pastry shells with a savoury potato, onion and pea stuffing or meat  filling. The highlight of the menu is the sharing platters which showcase the ‘star dishes’ on both meat and vegetarian fronts always selected by the head chef so you never quite know what exactly you’re getting: little dollops of chicken or lamb stew for the meat platter and spicy chickpeas or lentils, fried greens and spinach with cottage cheese, and crushed fava beans for the vegetarian platter. The best part is all of these dishes are served with injera, a sour flatbread with a sponge-like texture which is used to scoop up the food. Injera also lines the platter on which the stews are served. It’s like having edible cutlery.

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Adulis Shiro

 

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All in all, a really wonderful experience. Not the cheapest place to go to for a lunch or brunch on the weekend (£20 meal with no alcohol) but definitely worth the investment to have something a little different, flavorful and fun.

Restaurant Info:

Adulis

Website: http://www.adulis.co.uk/

Clapham Junction: 020 7223 3663 / Brixton: 020 7587 0055

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