In this era of globalisation and a world which shrinks each passing day, it’s hard to find a cuisine that we don’t have at least some knowledge of. But I have to admit, Adulis stumped me. Billing itself as Eritrean Ethiopian cuisine, my first order of duty was to cannily google Eritrea so as to sound all knowledgeable whence arriving at the dinner table. Eritrea, I learn is a small country in the Horn of Africa, bordered by Ethiopia to the south and I’m pretty excited to be sampling my first tastes of a country so entirely foreign to me.
There are two branches catering to this cuisine – one just a short jaunt from Clapham Junction, where we go to and the other in Brixton. Inside, it’s decked out in warming colours and there’s an undeniable hint of rustic.
Staff are friendly and really proud of their heritage and more than happy to explain the menu offerings, which do require a bit of explaining! Admittedly Hummus is easy enough to understand but Goe S’nigh is the sort of starter I can’t even pronounce much less really understand what it could be like, despite a description! The Hummus is great but the Goe S’nigh, green chillies stuffed with onions and tomatoes needs to come with a serious health warning as within seconds, eyes are watering up and down the length of the table!
Since we’re in a group, we opt for the four people platter – eight portions of dishes on one huge platter, all served up with plenty of injera – or the ethnic bread to mop it all up.
If you’ve ever had Dosa before (South Indian rice flour pancakes) then this is the closest comparison I can make, it has a fermented sort of flavour and it’s fantastic. The curry portions divide the group, everyone has a favourite they’re more keen to dip their portion of Injera into and without too many arguments, we manage to get through almost all of it.
Husband is planning a more sedate option and opts for a Dorho Tsebhi, or chicken curry with rice which is just what he wanted to carb-fuel before marathon training the following day. To my mind, it had a little less pizzazz than the platter, but he was pretty happy forking it up!
We passed on dessert this time, but next time, I’ll be quite keen to try out what the Eritreans have to satisfy their sweet tooth!
Adulis can be found at 112 St Johns Hill, SW11 1SJ and it’s just a short jaunt up the hill from Clapham Junction.