Alebi African Cuisine - Whalley

I listen quite often to a BBC podcast called "The Food Program". Sometimes I learn some interesting things about  food trends in the UK and around the world and sometimes not. I recently listened to an episode about an iconic west African dish called Jollof Rice. Like many dishes that your mother made, there are as many versions of Jollof Rice as there are mothers and yours made the best one. Clearly there is some passion about this staple dish (even among west Africans living in the UK and doubtless here also) such that we felt the need to sample for ourselves! And so to Alebi African Cuisine in Whalley, for some authentic Nigerian tastes.
Not located in the best part of Surrey, if you venture there, know that you enter into the strip mall off King George south bound and not from 135a which is where Google will take you. Inside the restaurant we were greeted by a lovely friendly woman who seated us and listened patiently and happily to my Jollof Rice story (see above).
The dining room is fairly large and comfortable enough. Very nice African art on the walls which we enjoyed but we were somewhat unthrilled by the plastic table covers ( Practical, I realize. Just try washing table clothes after every meal). The main event was, of course, Jollof Rice with Fried Chicken.
The generous helping of rice was, as I expected, comforting and tasty. Cooked in a tomato based sauce with peppers and spices, I would gladly have grown up eating this (not complaining, Mom). Accompanied by 2 chicken legs, pan fried and with a rich tomato sauce, fried plantains and a green salad, this is a nice main dish and reasonable at $13. 
We also tried an appetizer called Moi Moi. Not the most beautiful dish but so interesting and tasty! This is a steamed cake, of  black eye peas, ground while raw to a paste and combined with some spicy peppers, boiled egg and what I suspect is smoked sardine. This is a must try, especially if you think you have tried everything!  The slow, low key burn that I enjoyed in my mouth throughout the meal began here.
One dish that both my partner and I took exception to, was the Suya. This was referred to on the menu as small skewers (try the large instead) grilled with spices and peanut powder. This dish has huge potential but was very tough. Admittedly, it was so tasty that I chewed until my jaw gave out but in uncharacteristic fashion, we left half of the dish behind. Unfortunately, I tend to be non confrontational and chose the passive aggressive path by complaining in a review. The thing is that I'm sure our hostess would have righted the situation. I pledge to be more outspoken in the future. Still, we love trying something new. Nigerian cuisine is not something as common here as say Ethiopian or Moroccan but it definitely deserves further exploration! Start here !

Alebi African Cuisine Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

1 comment:

  1. Very nice place to eat, good food and the staff are amazing


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Are you guys eating again? At some point Marie and I became the kind of people who take pictures of everything we eat, whether in a restaura...