Lemlem Kitchen

Restaurants, East African South Hackney
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A great take on Eritrean food in Netil Market.

Few street-food stones are left unturned in London these days, with South American snacks in surplus and Asian buns in, um, abundance. While gems from the African continent still feel overlooked, the warm and subtle spices of Eritrea get a loving street food shakeup at Lemlem Kitchen in Netil Market.

Rather than trying to authentically duplicate street foods from Africa, Lemlem Kitchen riffs on the already popularised staples of tacos, wings and fries. Soft-shell tortillas form a base for ‘afro-tacos,’ with a spongy injera flatbread layered on top. This traditional bread is made in a similar way to sourdough, creating a porous pancake ideal for vertical grazing – it soaks up all those juicy toppings perfectly. You can mix and match tacos (two for £6), with a split pea version for veggies and a pulled lamb that seems toned down for European palates. Best of the bunch is the anise chicken – full of delicate, sweet spices and dressed with a sharp fennel slaw.

‘Amaze wings’ raise the heat more successfully, coated in hot sauce and served with a fiery stuffed chilli (a feta dip on the side prevents mouth-meltdown). A portion of shiro fries – chips topped with Eritrean chickpea stew and zingy tomato salsa – on the side comes strongly recommended. Indeed, fellow market staff stop by for a portion on the regular, they’re that good.

Lemlem is housed in a stucco shack cutting a cool, clean line full of east London edge. A lick of yellow paint and Sun Ra beats on the stereo further fulfil the sunny vibes, but the greatest warmth comes from owner Makda Harlow. She serves complimentary cups of spiced tea and conversation to those who seek salivation from those thoroughly original afro-tacos.

By: Laura Richards

Posted:

Venue name: Lemlem Kitchen
Contact:
Address: Netil Market
23 Westgate Street
London
E8 3RL
Transport: London Fields overground.
Price: Meal for two with drinks and service: around £35
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Average User Rating

5 / 5

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Tastemaker

Lemlem is located in the pretty little Netil Market, a few minutes walk away from the Broadway Market. They offer interesting Eritrean street food which is a nice change from the standard market offerings. They make things that kind of resemble a taco, using an almost sour tasting base that looks a bit like a very flat crumpet which they then top with a few different meat or veggie options. I had the veggie option which came with a split pea stew topped with different salads and sauces. Although I may not make it sound very appealing, it was delicious and I got so many comments walking back to the Broadway market with people asking me where I got the food from. Also, Lemlem do great £4 mojitos and have a few bar stools if you want to stick around for awhile. The service was so friendly and really chilled out. They were not in a rush to make your food, they wanted it done properly with attention paid to detail. 


Why has nobody thought of doing tacos with injeera before? absolutely delicious!