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.
|Venue name:||Lemlem Kitchen||Contact:|
23 Westgate Street
|Transport:||London Fields overground.|
|Price:||Meal for two with drinks and service: around £35|
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