African Afternoon Tea – what might that entail, I hear you ask. We’ve never really eaten much African food before and so this was a new experience we were more than happy to try! We were fairly sure it would be a breath of fresh air and a change from the usual English version that we’d blogged about all too recently.
We met and got chatting to Lerato on Instagram. From Nigeria, Lerato is a food blogger, journalist and TV chef – a woman of many talents, like many of us wanting to pursue this as a career in London. In person, she is a bright, friendly young woman wearing an amazing patterned Bardot dress, who warmly welcomed us to her event.
Described as ‘the first of its kind, a marriage of the vibrancy of Africa with traditional English decorum’, we really didn’t know what to expect when we arrived at the Printworks Kitchen on Rosebury Avenue, Clerkenwell. The venue was great – stylish and chic, a sign of things to come.
When we got there, we were sat down at a little table and served champagne. We sipped and chatted, waiting for our first course, excited to know what an African Afternoon Tea might be. The homemade butter rolls with strawberry and tomato jam, with a coating of honey were the perfect starter. It was different, spicy, but all the same delicious. We were informed this is typical of a snack Nigerian children have when they come home from school before dinner, which was Lerato’s inspiration for the dish. We couldn’t fault the presentation either – it was beautifully set out for us.
The second course, the Lagos Angus/ portobello pie with a vegetarian option, roasted plantain dipped in peanut butter and another West African dish which I’ve forgotten the name of was incredible. I’ve never tried plantain before, and it was different to what I was expecting – a lot sweeter.
We really enjoyed the prawn suya rolls which came out. These are a take on the classic summer rolls, but made African with a popular west African spice mix ‘suya’. We’d never tried it before and it was amazing – all the different flavours, the vegetables, coriander, mint, lovage, African Blue basil, lettuce and edible flowers really complimented the grilled prawns.
Then we were served the sweet course, which in our opinion was the best part of the meal. The consistency of the chocolate cake was just right, but the ‘chin chin’ mango mousse was amazing – sweet and light (not too heavy and sickly as some mousse can be). It tasted so fresh – we could have easily eaten a second helping each and was the perfect end to the meal.
Lerato’s food speaks volumes and she is truly a fabulous chef. Yes, at times there was a pause between the food coming out and there are ways in which the service could be improved, but this is Lerato’s first event and her food is what I will go home and remember. The pie, suya rolls and mango mousse were perfection and it was a lovely African twist to a quintessentially English past time.
If you’d like any more information on any of the restaurants we’ve reviewed, please free feel to contact us.