A charming Eritrean Restaurant in Maida Vale.
For years I have driven past Mosob thinking it looked quite popular. One evening, looking for something different to try, we dropped in. The restaurant usually looks very busy in the evenings, but we were fortunate to find a table.
The owner is in most nights and was proud to say that the recipes they use are his mothers; all are authentic Eritrean homemade food. Staff are very friendly and are quite happy to chat about what to order, talk about Eritrea – their food, culture, and football…even bringing you a well-thumbed book filled with beautiful pictures of Asmara.
There are quite a few items on the menu and it was pleasing to find so many vegetable dishes. There were 3 different meat and 3 vegetarian set menus for sharing.
We ordered Spinach rolls mixed with herbs, olive oil and chilli, rolled in injera. Injera is like a large pancake, and is traditionally made with teff, but we were told that this is incredibly expensive to source from Eritrea, so they make the injera using a mixture of maize and wheat flour.
The rolls are served with two dips: a naturally creamy yogurt with olive oil and paprika, and awaze (a mildly spiced chilli paste).
Typically served at room temperature, injera also serves as the base for the main platter of food, with portions of a choice of various meats and vegetables. These platters are large for sharing. You don’t need cutlery here: the idea is to tear off small pieces of the sour Injera, which will have absorbed the tasty flavours, and scoop up the vegetables or meat into bite size portions.
The first platter was called Massawa from the set menu and comprised of their famous richly spiced lamb stew (Zigni), the beautifully smooth Shiro (which is finely ground chickpeas, simmered in a combination of spices and olive oil), and Derho Quluwa (sautéed chicken cubes with peppers and onions). The chicken Derho was less exciting than the other flavours. The tangy Alicha (lightly spiced, slightly sour cabbage with carrots and split beans) contributed a lovely crunch and balanced the richer flavours well.
Rather than opt for a second set menu platter, we chose from the individual dishes on the menu.
There was more Zigni, some Hamli mis Siga (spinach and tender beef cooked in garlic and olive oil), and the Mosob special, which was 4 lamb chops served with lentils. The spinach with beef was fresh and delicious; the roast lamb, was crispy on the outside and tender inside, and the lentils (Timtimo) were seriously addictive!
Both platters were absolutely delicious but quite filling, so to finish we had the spicy Eritrean tea which proved to be quite an efficient digestive aid.
Definitely one to try, this lovely, well run family restaurant is quite affordable and is a great place to learn more about Eritrea.
339 Harrow Road, London W9 3RB
Tel: 020 7266 2012
Monday – Friday 18:00 – 24:00
Saturday – Sunday 15:00 – 24:00