[London] Fredor Zambian Restaurant
Had a group dinner here last night. Vibe is more like a cafe than a restaurant. The owner (Dorothy) was wonderfully warm and friendly all the way through and made us feel very welcome and like we were guests in her home. Since none of us knew anything about Zambian food, she cooked us a huge spread of typical dishes for us to try. Huge amounts left at the end for doggy-bags, worked out £11 each.
Caterpillars were fried with onions, a nice mix of crunchiness and chewiness. The other dishes were mostly offal or vegetables. There was, as usual, nshima to balance the strong flavours and add carbs.
Sausages were noticably aromatic, though we couldn't quite place the herb used. They had a dryness that seemed to imply a somewhat healthy lack of fat. Other dishes included lungs&tripe, cows' feet (which had the expected gelatinous consistency), several different pureed green african vegetables (these were more or less like spinach, with a much deeper taste, one in particular quite bitter). Anchovies were particularly good, though a very strong flavour, so I found best balanced with the nshima.
I don't really know Zambian food so can't say if it was a good example or not, but it was a great experience, so definitely worth a visit. Owner says it's the only Zambian restaurant in London.
177 Upton Lane E7 9PJ, 079 4710 6429
The greens' flavour was more vegetable and earthy, didn't really notice much other taste so think it was just them. They were kind of a contrast to the saltier taste of some of the other dishes.
From memory the anchovies were fried. Lungs & tripe and cows foot both were boiled. In general there wasn't really a huge amount of sauce and what little there was kinda got mixed up at the bottom of my plate with the other foods, so hard to say really what else was in there. My general thought was there wasn't the combination of produce you get often get in Western-style cooking, it was just a particular vegetable of type of meat, cooked with appropriate herbs. Unfortunately I just don't know African herbs well enough to tell you what herbs!
Oh yes, there was also a nice dish that appeared to be baby aubergines or similar, boiled quite nicely.
Any thoughts, Limster? I know I've also left out few dishes. :-)
I really liked the aromatic boer sausage and also one of the three vegetable purees that had a tea-like smoky flavour (may have been the cassava leaves). The caterpillars were tasty, but the best bits were probably the smaller pieces that were really crunchy; the bigger ones tended to have a blunted chewy texture. Also enjoyed the anchovies for a salty, and slightly nutty flavour -- these were probably fried and then sauteed with a sauce.