Mosob
339 Harrow Road
Maida Hill
Westminster W9 3RB
24/10/2011
I was swimming on the plane back from Frankfurt. Swimming in a garden full of tomatoes, diving into the freshness of hearts of lettuce, plunging into the aroma of char grilled aubergines. Why??? What would you like to eat after a week of sausages and potatoes and potatoes and sausages?!! So I wake up looking forward to going home and granting myself the luxury of an embarrassingly big salad when it struck me: tonight is Eritrean night!

I knew the place was nice from their website, but I also new it wasn’t around the corner and I was totally exhausted. I also knew I didn’t really want to cook and Edo didn’t either. So we took the car – Thank God for Charlene – and arrived to this little, charming, warming place near Westbourne Park. Good thing we booked a table, by the way. People were very busy eating what it looked liked a delicious dinner. Mosob’s menu makes everyone happy: chicken, lamb, vegetables, fish…you name it, they have it. But, as it often happens in non-Mediterranean cuisines, how heavy are they going to go with oil, garlic, onion and spices? I couldn’t help but being concerned. I really didn’t want to spend another night burping my life away. To make our lives easier we followed waiter number 1’s (I think we had 3 or 4 floating around our table) suggestion: Massawa Set Menu; frequently recommended to Eritrean food’s virgins. So, dear virgins and experts, what is Massawa? A beautiful selection of lamb, chicken and vegetable in this form: STARTERS (spinach rolls; lentils rolls; felafel with dips); MAINS (lamb stew; spicy chicken cubes sautéed with onions and mixed peppers; stew of spiced cabbage, carrots, onions and split beans and last but not least, spicy lentils cooked with traditional spices). But it isn’t just the taste of the food, the balance of spices and condiments or the uniqueness of the dishes that worth mentioning. It is the fact that there are no plates or cutleries involved in the Eritrean way of eating. The food is placed on the Injera, a crepe-like bread made from gluten-free grain. It is spongy and elastic, but at the same time so soft and light that it is impossible not to become addicted to it. Waiter 2 (or 3? Can’t quite remember) brought smaller injera rolls on the side, which are your cutlery. You tear off a piece and scoop up the food. Yes, it is messy, a little dirty and somewhat childish eating with your hands. But to be honest with you I enjoyed it 100%!!!

The only detail that slightly put me off was waitress number-I-don’t-remember’s face when we pointed out we asked for still water and got sparkling. She went away with the bottle mumbling something. Apart from that, service was nice, attentive, quick. Great, in fact really great food. Very nice place. Very nice atmosphere. Fantastic deal (£40 in total service included). I can’t wait to go back with friends. Oh, and I got my beloved, long dreamt of vegetables but in a much more inventing way than a salad! Potatoes and pork…not even the shadow! Yeeppeee!!!

  • Food: 4.5
  • Ambience: 4
  • Service: 3.5
  • Value: 5
  • Overall: 4.25
Monica
Yes! This was a good one. Exactly the kind of place we are hoping to find in this mission. So here’s how it went.

It’s not central but reasonably close, on a big road. The ambience is simple but with character, just intimate enough for a date but easy going. Probably best with friends. Very busy, I am glad we booked.
The whole concept is different and fun. The idea is you eat like they do in Eritrea, which is without cutlery and scooping up food using bits of a very flexible yet strong … crepe is what I would call it although it has a proper African name. It is served in rolls, you tear bits off and use it to eat whilst eating it. It is fun.

The food was really good. We had a starter of assorted spinach rolls, lentil rolls, and felafels: all three were good with the lentil rolls standing out. The main was another big assorted plate of: lamb stew (national dish – awesome, tender, tasty), spicy chicken (OK), lentils (excellent), stewed cabbage (also excellent, gently spicy).

Service was excellent, friendly, efficient, punctual, except one mysterious glitch when the waitress reacted with a “what the fuck do you want?” look when I told her I had asked for still not sparkling, then proceeded to challenge me multiple times saying I’d asked for the latter. Whatever, PMS is a bad thing – it took me about 30 seconds to forget the urge to smash her head against the wall, then I thoroughly enjoyed the rest of the meal.

I don’t remember how much we paid but it was insignificant for a place I’d go back to and where I would happily take friends. I left very satisfied for another good find we would never have discovered if weren’t doing this crazy mission. Places like this are the reason we endure the likes of Egypt, Ecuador, and Albania!!!

  • Food: 3
  • Ambience: 3
  • Service: 2
  • Value: 4
  • Overall: 3
Edo
ERITREA