Review: Andu Cafe, Hackney

Photography & Words by N.O.W.

Andu is a perfect example of the saying, ‘you should never judge a book by its cover’. With remnants of the former internet café it used to be, a whiteboard for prices, the mix and match of different fonts on the exterior, Andu Café it seems is waiting patiently to be recognised for what lies beneath.

The menu is simple, effective and more importantly affordable. For £7 a single diner can have a platter ominously called ‘The Sampler’ provides much more than the name suggests.

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Collard greens dotted with red and green peppers is more than a deep green occupant merely taking up space to be poked at. High in iron, calcium and manganese (essential for bone, tissue and brain development) collard greens are one of six well placed accompaniments to the injera.

Injera, which Andu the owner will refer to as ‘bread’ is far from. Without flour, yeast and gluten injera contains teff flour, a combination of barley, rye, oats and wheat which is mixed with water to produce a spongy flat bread. Put next to a crepe injera is hard to differentiate being slightly darker in hue, the flavour of which is bitter on its own.

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Once laced with any of the colourful dipping and spoon-able components like the ‘Shiro Wot’, split peas stewed with tomatoes, onions, spices, garlic and olive oil. My multiple award winning combinations started with a spooning of ‘Shiro Wot’ onto a reasonable piece injera and then topped with any of the other sides.

Call it the hot sauce of the platter if you will.

Pleasantly surprised and thankful that the string beans with chopped carrots, tomatoes, onions and garlic, also known as ‘Fesolia’, was al dente finish with not one pea overcooked.

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Another highly recommended piece of ‘The Sampler’ was the spiced cabbage, potato and onion drizzled in a mild sauce. At first appearance it seems there is no sauce at all but at first bite the palette is introduced to a herby taste that compliments the spice of the cabbage.

Andu Café has been open for 8 months. In my time spent devouring the platter I found passers-by to be entertaining. One woman passed, retracted her steps backward to the front of the café, disappeared then finally made her cameo inside. Be like this woman and avoid letting an opportunity to immerse and introduce your taste buds to a taste of Ethiopian vegan cuisine at a decent cost.

http://m.facebook.com/Andu-Cafe-1653247514905380/

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