Nanerj (Damascene Cuisine) – Edgware Road, London
Known as the “King of the Citrus” for its distinct sour taste, a nanerj is often used as a substitute for limes and lemons in fish and other dishes.
And with this citrus cleverly incorporated into its logo, Nanerj, as with most restaurants up and down this famous stretch of road, also offers tables.
Unsurprisingly, while shisha is, therefore, an inevitable consequence, what paradoxically separates this place from much of the competition is that it’s entirely alcohol-free.
With a capacity of 50 indoors, and around 10 outside, the restaurant is bright and airy, with the interior decor revolving around an obvious Middle Eastern vibe.
What a brilliant way to start a meal: hot, freshly baked complimentary bread; and the only restaurant on said street, that we know of, that has its own bakery.
This along with cold starters goes down a treat.
A great hommos, with enough tahine and lemon juice to make this an enjoyable experience on its own.
The grilled aubergine was good without being great. A textured moutabel paste was helped by the sweet burst of flavour delivered by the pomegranates.
And don’t think the mint leaves are just there as a pretty garnish; they are of course, but they also add that minty freshness to the dish.
Nakanek (also known as makanek) are mini spiced sausages. The underlying sauce was full of lemon juice.
The sausage itself, however, was horrible! Over cooked with a crispy outer shall and an ultra-firm interior.
As for the taste, then it was bitter. In fact, we asked for the mini sausage from the sandwich-wrap section, but got the latter. Live and learn the hard way!
CHARCOAL GRILLED MAIN
Wow; these on the other hand were something else. Thick and juicy, these Kastaleta Lamb cutlets were cooked to medium well, and subtly flavoured enough to allow for the natural meaty taste to shine through.
Having said that though, the accompanying fries just seemed out of place. And at £15, we would expect a little more in terms of volume from a main course.
The kafta was not over cooked meaning that it was moist throughout. But, it could have done with more spice as it was a little bland.
But again at £14, and with a measly three kaftas barely enjoying the company of the standard condiments, this seemed closer to the size of a starter than a main.
Not many drink options available here. The fresh lemon was certainly fresh, eye-squintingly so! But, rather have more than less, no?
- NO/ NO
- CHILD SEATING
- DISABLED FACILITIES
With no alcohol on the premises (and if you can look past the shisha), it offers a clean, family-friendly environment.
The food has to be spot on to survive in this dog-eat-dog area. But on first impressions, they've seemed to have made a solid start.
We would, however, like to see an improvement in the portion sizes, as well as some more imagination when it comes to the peripheries of a main dish. But, having barely scratched the surface of Nanerj's 97-item menu, we won't be getting too excited just yet, although those lamb cutlets where special for Edgware Road standards.
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