There’s something of the community centre about this basement restaurant – it’s a little shabby, with workaday furniture, sauces served in polystyrene cups and an easy-clean tiled floor. And it certainly seems to be a meeting and eating place for the Somali community. Much of the menu reflects Somalia’s inclusion in Italian East Africa until 1960, so pasta dishes sit alongside soft Somali bread, stews and spices.
In fact, there’s not much to scare the timid newcomer to African food. Dish names may seem difficult, but translate thus: spiced fried chicken with salad leaves and chilli dressing; goat’s cheese salad and sweet chilli; chicken and falafel. The Village is alcohol-free, but there are fruit smoothies as well as Somali spiced coffee and tea.