Asmara

Address: 386 Coldharbour Lane, London SW9 8LF

telephone: 020 7737 4144

 

This is an Eritrean restaurant on Coldharbour Lane with a very unprepossessing entrance. Peeping in through the window you can see a couple of low circular basket weave tables and then the usual more cafe like seating in the remainder of the restaurant. The walls have a few african adornments but it is not overwhelming cultural. But this is an experience place where you effectively eat the tablecloth so if you want the whole feel try for the low circular”ethnic”  tables. The menu is heavy on meat although there are vegetarian options. The reason for the reference to the tablecloth is the food comes on the bread that you eat with. It is called injera and it is a large circular  sourdough pancake. This is fine when warm but as it rapidly cools becomes more like trying to eat a large piece of felt.  If you don’t like sourdough you can choose rice or cracked wheat.

This is a meat heavy cuisine with spicy or not so spicy choices like kulwa ( lamb with tomatoes) and derho alicha (mild chicken stew).  There is an option for the Royal feast but actually this looked far too much for a mid-week evening meal so we didn’t venture that far. The portions for each option are not large so you need to share a few. Our companions on the most recent visit found it all a bit too much but they were teenage girls – one of whom was a recent reformed vegetarian.

The prices for a  neighbourhood restaurant were surprisingly high and although we have been several times we think that these need to be widely spaced. We do, however, recommend sitting on low stools for any first visit and to try the delicious flavoured coffee which is delivered in a surprising way – we don’t want to give this away but just to say that the smell is wonderful

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