In common with London’s other Eritrean restaurants, this low-key Brixton café named after the capital of Eritrea and decorated with a few East African touches, trades on its novelty value. Staff are efficient and well-versed in the ‘have you eaten Eritrean food before?’ schtick.
The chicken dishes are particularly popular – well-seasoned ghee sauce seems to complement the meek white meat with aplomb. But we opted for the vegetarian mosob meal for two, consisting of red and green lentil stews, spinach, fried and sauced mixed vegetables and a smooth, spicy dish of ground chickpeas. The injera was plentiful, and also lighter and less spongy than others we have sampled. True to tradition, it serves as both plate and fork (scoop up the stews with torn-off pieces of bread, but try not to lick your fingers in the process – this is food to be shared).
The set menus include the much-vaunted coffee ceremony, with its attendant waftings and frankincense burning. The coffee is excellent: roasted (under your nose) to perfect richness and tinged carefully with cardamom and cloves. A big bowl of fresh, warm, salty popcorn ensures that no one feels cheated by the absence of puds.