A mosob is a handwoven table around which people gather to eat. This is one of the many facts about Eritrean cuisine we learned at this welcoming restaurant. In fact, instruction on Eritrean life and culture goes well beyond food, because the people who run Mosob are on a mission to promote their homeland.
A very good job they do too: in the gaps between courses, our beaming waiter produced a well-thumbed book about the buildings of Asmara, and we also learned about the Italian occupation – at which point the pudding list (tartufo classico, tiramisu) became clear. But the main event is the cooking, especially the gloriously diverse vegetarian choices; these include beautifully spiced lentils (timtimo), pounded and stewed chickpeas (shiro) and spinach (hamli), and often involve cottage cheese.
Meat eaters also fare well, thanks to the likes of the Mosob special (marinated lamb chops with spinach and lentils) and the muscular combination of hamli mis siga (tender stewed beef with spinach and garlic). Everything is served on spongy, yeasty injera, which is also used to scoop up the food. After such a feast, plus a few Serengeti lagers and the warm popcorn served as part of the final coffee ceremony, we didn’t need feeding again for 24 hours.