Restaurant rating ****
The Jollof Hub
First Restaurant review
10 Chapel Street (leading into Potterow)
Edinburgh EH8 9AY
Opening Hours: 10a.m. – 10p.m.
Review date: Monday 10th August 2015
We arrived in Edinburgh on the very first day of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, on Friday 7th August 2015 so we were off to a good start! In addition to seeing some good shows and sightseeing I always think about the best places to eat. The latter is essential for my definition of what contributes to having a great time. Fast foods are just that; convenient on the go stuff but not necessarily the healthy option. I also try to seek out different eateries; something that varies from the norm. So it was a wonderful surprise to find an African restaurant around the corner from the Assembly Room Studios and Gilded Balloon serving authentic Gambian cuisine!
The Jollof Hub (opened 08.05.2015), seats up to 40 guests who wish to dine and also provides a take away service. If you want to experience African cooking at its best then this is the place to be. It is situated right in the heart of the Fringe and you will not regret your choice!
Just to whet your appetite a little let me take you down a culinary journey of a healthy alternative option, but for starters (excuse the pun) some background information to African cuisine may prove useful.
The restaurant is named after one of West Africa’s popular dishes. Jollof Rice (also known as Benachin) originated from rice dishes eaten by Wolof people of Senegal and Gambia. Rice is the main ingredient but added to the rice are tomatoes, tomato paste, red pepper, onions, garlic (meat or vegetables are optional additions) which results in a fusion of flavours that bring absolute pleasure to your taste buds. If you have one dish at this restaurant, ensure it includes Jollof Rice. I guess the popularity of this dish is the reason for the restaurant name.
So you guessed it, I had the Jollof Rice with lamb chops and salad. To ‘wash my meal down,’ as they say, I enjoyed a glass of Wongo (Hisbiscus tea), followed by a desert (made from wheat, yogurt, grated coconut and sugar) known as Chakri. My colleague had the Chicken Domoda; a peanut butter stew (one of the national dishes of Gambia) served with plain rice and salad. His beverage was a drink called Boabab Juice, which comes from the African fruit Boabab deliciously sweet which really complimented the spicy food. Both meals and drinks were delicious and most of it had a pleasant flavour unlike anything we’ve eaten or drunk in a long time. Mind you the sauce was a bit too hot for my liking – my fault for pouring it on to liberally before tasting a little bit first!
For less than £10.00 per head the menu is an inexpensive delight.
Other menu options are Chicken Yasa; grilled chicken with caramelised onions and for vegetarians there is the choice of roasted vegetables. All meals are served with salad and a choice of either Jollof rice, plain white rice or cous cous.
I have to add that the hospitality is great as staff go out of their way to make you feel at ease and ensure that your experience of Africa is memorable for the all the right reasons. This clearly has an effect on customers as the diners sitting next to us declared that this was their second visit to the restaurant, considering that it only opened 4 days ago this was a real testament to it living up to expectations. To add to this, another potential customer was so excited to see the restaurant whilst out for a stroll with his young child that he popped in and enthusiastically shared his joy. On the day we were there none other than local Comedian and Broadcaster Hardeep Singh Kohli briefly popped in and confirmed he will be back to enjoy a meal here.
Don’t be put off by the small seating area upstairs if passing by, for there is ample seating downstairs in the main and beautifully decorated dining area. Staff might need to do more to make that known to customers as we were unaware until they mentioned it when we were about to leave.
This is a place that is worth a visit as I anticipate that it is going to be very popular not only during the month of the Fringe but for those who reside in Scotland. I will definitely be dining there again as I know without a doubt I am guaranteed a very tasty and healthy alternative option.
Review © Tiemo Talk of the Town
31.08.15 Update Jollof Hub is mentioned in the Top 10 best shows (and places to go) list below.
- Edinburgh Fringe reviews – August 2015
- Tiemo’s 10 of the best shows at the Edinburgh Fringe 2015 – 29th August 2015
- DVDs from many Comedians performing at the Fringe can be found here at the Tiemo Entertainments Funny Ha Ha Amazon store
- Top 10 Shows and restaurants – Edinburgh Fringe 2014
- Henderson’s of Edinburgh organic food restaurant – review – 18th August 2012