Price: Moderate (approx. £20-25/person)
Rating: 4 (out of 5)
A new type of cuisine for me. Mosob has been serving up traditional Eritrean fare for the past ten years. After seeing many, many rave reviews, I decided to try it for myself. I wasn’t disappointed.
I can only but assume that the literature about how authentic Mosob is true; but I’ve never been a snob over authenticity, as long as it works for me I’m usually a happy bunny. Eritrean cuisine has some very familiar flavours (the use of ghee and spices are reminiscent of other cuisines) and rightly so. According to the literature on the menu, influences come from Asia, Africa, Arabia and Italy. One definitely unfamiliar flavour is injera (a sour-dough flat bread that looks more like a pancake).
While I can’t say that I’m overly fond of injera (you get a lot of it), the rest of the food was very tasty indeed. In traditional Eritrean fashion, you eat with your hands (I love eating with my hands, I swear things taste better that way) off a communal plate. All of the mains are dolloped on top of layers of injera.
As I was completely clueless as to what to order, I was advised to go for one of their set meals (six options: three vegetarian and three meat). These work out well with regards to the price, so I opted for the Massawa set meal for £36.95 for two (starters, mains and tea at the end).
Aside from the food, my take-away from Mosob was their service. I’ve had good service before, however I’ve never felt that the staff were as genuinely pleasant or friendly as they were here. I actually felt happier after my visit.
The only issue I had (which had also been mentioned in a few other reviews) was with the timing. However, I had been pre-warned that this type of cuisine is made from scratch to order and does take some time to prepare (so I played GTA San Andreas on my phone – my dinner date didn’t appreciate that?!).
Starters consisted of injera stuffed with spinach (spinach rolls – middle), lentils (timtimo rolls – back) and felafel (their spelling – these were good). This was my first experience with injera so wasn’t quite sure what to make of it. It was slightly sour and yeasty, which served to add some freshness to the spinach and lentil that were otherwise stodge (dips helped with that too). The starters were served with two dips: awaze (spicy chilli paste – not very spicy) and yoghurt (also spiced but not spicy). All worked really well together (would have liked more of the dips though).
The mains arrived on an injera lined metal tray, already apportioned out for two. This set consisted of zigni (a spicy lamb stew – like it!), derho quluwa (cubes of chicken with onions and mixed pepper – so-so on this), alicha ahmelti (spiced veg), timtimo (spicy lentils – much like the starter) and a bit of salad.
Extra injera with your mains (really? Isn’t there enough on the plate?). I didn’t think there was a need for any more. Besides, the juices from the mains that had soaked into the bread made it supremely flavoursome, so plain injera was just boring in comparison.The bill was reasonable considering all of the food, but I think I’ll not go with the set meal next time (I had to take most of it home, it was just so much!).