Named after an ancient port on the Red Sea, this coffee- and spice-scented restaurant provides a large and lovely Eritrean feast – though note that the lunchtime opening hours can be rather erratic. It’s an interesting-looking venue: lots of dark furniture, a bar-front studded with seaside rocks, and walls punctuated with little alcoves containing random finds (from Aladdin lamps to model ships to old-fashioned dial phones).
The menu has some intriguing additions too, though, sadly, the linseed stew wasn’t available on our visit. We settled for a chilli-scattered dish of crushed fava beans, stewed long in olive oil and onions and served with piles of toasted pitta.There are also fish dishes, as well as tender, fragrant ground-beef kitfo and other spicy stews. The sharing platters showcase the star turns on both meat and vegetarian fronts: little dollops of chicken or lamb stew (fried tripe, also available, doesn’t figure on these platters), spicy chickpeas or lentils, fried greens and spinach with cottage cheese.
Big-flavoured dishes like this call for a long cold drink, such as Savanna cider (from South Africa) and Tusker beer (Kenya), or there’s sweet, delicately spiced Eritrean honey wine.