I’m eating around the world without leaving London and this week I had Azerbaijani food at Azeri.
Word of warning, this blog post ain’t gonna be pretty. Azeri is nothing more than an Asian version of your local chippie. It’s a takeaway restaurant nothing more nothing less. The difference is that there is a random collection of Azerbaijani souvenirs on display in the window and a humongous poster of Baku by night. There are a few tables with plastic see-through covers, although the unatmospheric ambience of really just wants to make you put in your order and go.
As I walked in, the surprised stares of the chef and the delivery boy suggested that they normally don’t get any blonde, Dutch women in here for a lunch time takeaway. I even had to explain that I wanted to order food and that I would be needing a menu to make my choice. I asked what the most Azerbaijani food on offer was, but the chef didn’t understand me. He pointed at the first option under main meals, called yarpak dolmasi; a portion of vine leaves stuffed with meat, rice, dill, mint and coriander. It was served with yoghurt and a thick slice of what I normally call Turkish bread.
I took the takeaway bag back to the office and ate it at my desk. It was okay, nothing more, nothing less. The dolmas were not the best I’d ever had and when I showed my plate to a colleague she aptly described the little green balls as a bit sad-looking.
I’m not sure what the other dishes on the menu are like, but I am sure that I can have a nicer kebab or a more decent plov at any of the other restaurants I have been eating at on this London foodie world tour. Don’t bother.