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Dine with Derek Tibs

By M Willoughby one of our satisfied customer

Even if you find reasonable food and decent service for less than a tenner in this town, too many restaurants seem designed to remind you that you cannot afford to go anywhere nicer.

  Witness the opulent curry house with the annoying piped music. Or the fish and chip shop with the little stickers informing you about how you are engaged in Greet British past time. And, of course, the Chinese, with the wire back chairs, no table cloths, with walls as white as an autopsy room.

These days, though, with Sainsbury’s and the TV chefs, we can eat fresher and cheaper at home without being distracted at by Chinese lick-waving cats, magically animated waterfalls and staff emerging from swishing bead curtains.

We were welcomed into Addis, the Ethiopian restaurant by the charming Nazrul. The walls were yellow and orange. Up above, diecut lamps cast shadows on the ceiling. A child jumped around with pleasure adding to, not detracting from the happy vibe of a desert sunset.

  The feeling of warmth extended to the food, with its mysterious and earth flavours. We ate by hand from a large plate in the centre of the table, using the spongy, sour Injira bread. We  had to share, because Nazrul tipped everything into the same plate. His was so smiley and concerned, that we forgave the odd, long pause at the start and before coffee.

It was hard to choose a dish from a menu that including such items as ‘Gored Gored’ ‘Derek Tibs’ and Ye Beg Alicha Fet Fet’, but we lazily complied.

Standouts included the deep friend aubergine salad, where the potential oiliness of fried egg plant was countered by yoghurt and coriander. The lamb stew ( Ye Beg Alicha) was also wonder fully complex sweet and buttery. The Gored and Gored was billed on the  menu as ‘raw,’ but the plunge turned out to be just a short drop: the beef stew was rare, pan-seared, sharply tangy yet fuzzily spiced.

  The spices are worth mentioning, being literally slow burning.  Layer and layer of heat built up inside us, pleasantly instead of your head being blows off, as happens with the first mouthful of vindaloo. Glowing like enormous Ready Brek children, we walked, happily from Addis along the Cally Road.

NB: This article  taken from Camden New Journal, 24 June 2004 Page 29.

 

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