So off to Hackney we went, to see what all the fuss was about surrounding Zoe’s Ghana Kitchen. We were excited at the thought of trying some home-cooked Ghanaian plates. It was a great night, we sampled some new cuisine and got a raging ‘burn-on’ and a chilli high!
Zoe’s affair is an informal, dish driven edible experience. Offering around 35-40 diners a Ghanaian inspired feast. Currently Zoe’s Ghana Kitchen runs once a month with a varying menu ‘theme’, ours was ‘Nose to Tail’ showcasing the lesser-regarded cuts.
(Recipes inspired by Patti Sloley’s recipe in A Plate in the Sun)
Palm Wine Ceremony
Chili Chicken Liver on lightly toasted Sweet Dough Bread
Slow Roasted Pork Belly in Pineapple & Plantain Stew
Succulent pork belly in a sweet Pineapple & Plantain Stew with mixed vegetables
Lamb Neck & Shoulder in Shallot Sauce
Spicy, sweet, deliciously slow cooked lamb on the bone with alligator pepper fire
Corn Beef Balls Stew
Corned beef re-done, these tasty meatballs are cooked in Kabu’s rich and spicy tomato sauce served with boiled egg
Kenkey // Spiced Spinach & Carrot Rice // Kelewele // Shito Hot Sauce
Tropical Fruits and Peppercorn Syrup
Shot of herbal vitality: ALOMO BITTERS (ESPECIALLY FOR MEN!)
(Veggie options were available) Menu £30 plus booking fee
We thought that the food was truly flavoursome, enlightening (we love to try new dishes) and there was lovely family style, homey feel to the whole evening. However, we did have to wait 1.5 hours after arriving to get the first dish in front of us. We were getting a little impatient but a sign of great food is when it can satisfy, pacify and make you forget the mood you were in before you ate it. As soon as we began the chow-down on the plentiful dishes and generous portions we forgot our impatience and settled into the super-chilled feeling of the evening.
We would have liked to see some dishes come out earlier. Also by the time some of the sides came round we where absolutely full, barely had the impetus to try them (but we did try!). More food from the beginning and less at the end would be what we’d like to see next time. We love to see people engaging over the food sooner! It helps to create a little bit more atmosphere and conversation (on the tables maybe where people were sat together that didn’t know one another). Passing and sharing food is really a great way to get the evening started. Just as the palm wine ceremony achieves just before the food was served.
We also noticed that dished kept coming long after we were full and that a couple opposite us didn’t even get served up a dish that we had (the meatballs – we shared ours with them).
Stand out dishes were the Spicy, sweet, deliciously slow cooked lamb and the most interesting or usual taste of the night was the Kenkey, fermented maize dough dumpling. We thoroughly enjoyed all the herbs, spices and flavours of Zoe’s dishes. Although so be warned the chilies used to cook are left in the dishes – watch what you are putting in your face. A rogue Scotch Bonnet made it into my mouth. It was insanely hot but quite enjoyable if your one of us that buzz of a chilli rush.
If were to book Zoe’s for a client event we’d look to iron out some of the kinks (waiting time, missing dishes etc – it’s our old restaurant management roots that can’t deal with it) but certainly keep ALL of the character. Taking everything into account, there is no doubt that we’d recommend Zoe’s for a relaxed occasion. Great for groups. The food is worth traveling for.
Entertaining: Yes, informal, fun and for the culinary curious. This is a casual ‘family affair’ style experience. The venue was key we felt in feeling included in the epicurean process; it also helped forgive the lateness of service as we could see how hard the cooks were working.
We were guests for Zoes’ and would like to thank the team very much for a very pleasant evening and educating our palates. Tickets were £30 plus booking fee on Eventbrite.
Zoe’s next dinner is on http://grandmceceeghanamenu-eorg.eventbrite.com
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