Restaurant Le Taliet [London]
Alrighty Nii spotted it so I'm writing this up early. I wanted to do two meals there before I posted.
The maffe is fantastic. Dark and rich with tender lamb. Real peanut-y flavour throughout. Easily one of the better versions of maffe I've had (and I went to this place because I was just in Paris so that's saying something.)
Vietnamese inspired (it has to be) "nem" were exceptionally crispy with an African all-meat filling. Very good spring rolls though they were something like a quid each. All in all, very tasty. Also, the peppa given throughout the meal and especially provided for the nem was very good. Nice scotch bonnet sweetness with a touch of what I think may have been dried prawns or dried fish powder. Different from most African chili sauces.
The attieke with fried tuna was largely spot on. The tuna was extremely tasty alongside the attieke, but the attieke itself was a touch too draw. Good accompaniments and served properaly as the attieke was topped with onions and various other things. Authentic albeit a tad dry. Maggi cube provided.
It should be noted that it takes time to get your food here. A lot of these dishes (especially the maffe as I learned last week) take an extremely long time to stew and they're clearly made to order (as one can easily notice by watching the sole female employee disappear to the kitchen whenever a customer orders food.)
Regardless, this is far and the best Francophone West African food I've had in London. It was competitive with some amazing places I ate at in Paris as well as a brilliant Senegalese restaurant in the Bronx. My only complaint is that the attieke (basically the staple of Ivory Coast) was vastly inferior to a Guinean place in the Bronx.
Any comments from deansa and limster?
Favourites were the hem (rivals many of the Vietnamese places in town in terms of rendition) and the maffe -- incredible deep raw peanut flavour. One of the most delicious sauces/gravies I have in a long while; certainly more unusual and interesting to me than anything I had at Roganic.
Dishes were roughly 6 to 12 pounds here with the majority closer to 6. What they have on a given day is on a handwritten black board and the owner will walk you through it.
Some basic assumptions to hold are that attieke is the primary staple of Ivory Coast and therefore attieke with fried or grilled fish is a priority. Attieke is basically cassava couscous.
The maffe at this place was really good. It's a tomato and onion based stew to which freshly made or unsweetened peanut butter is added before slow cooking until thick.
Otherwise I need to explore more of the menu. I just remembered that we also ordered a whole guinea fowl which was I believe the most expensive dish on the menu at 12 pounds. An entire roast guinea foul came with a number of accompaniments and it was eaten with rice.
Ask the owner, but pick stuff that sounds good. One nice thing about Senegalese, Ivorian, etc food is that (pepper pot soup aside) you don't have as many risks associated with random ordering as you would at a Nigerian place. The chance of unexpected cow foot or tripe is very low.