A taste of Sudan at the Nile Valley Cafe

Recently we went to the Nile Valley Cafe opposite George Square in Edinburgh for a birthday dinner. When I was still at Edinburgh University, we used to pass by the row of shops all the time headed to class, but I had never given the Sudanese restaurant much thought.

It’s one of those places that you really do miss out on unless you open yourself up to new foods and experiences. If you’re looking for something a bit different, give this cafe/restaurant a try!

The restaurant is simply decorated and when coming through the front door, it appears as if it couldn’t take more than 3 tables of maximum 10 customers. Once you go down the set of stairs though, there are a few more tables to accommodate bigger tables. The walls are filled with ethnic art and when you head towards the restroom areas, you’ll see a beautifully painted map of Africa with animals native to particular regions.

We were quite a big party and it was decided that we would share a few starters. Luckily, we left it to one of the connoisseurs of the restaurant to choose the starters so I can’t remember what we had or what the dishes were called. There’s a dish of hummus with pitta bread that was great and one of couscous, but otherwise I can’t really remember what the other dishes were called. Needless to say, they were tasty though and everyone was scraping the dishes to finish off the food!

Couscous starter

Unfortunately I think there was a bit of a mix up with the main course. I decided to try the Dojaj Bil Tahini, a tender chicken breast dish with a mild sesame seed sauce, fresh coriander that boasts to be full of flavour but without heat. The dish that arrived however was too spicy for me and I had a hard time eating much of it without taking a sip of my drink.

Dojaj Bil Salsa (on the bottom which I was given by mistake. This dish was served in a spiced tomato sauce with sweet peppers, onions and fresh coriander)

The OH’s Dhan Halla (bottom): subtly spiced lamb dish cooked in a pot with traditional spices and tomato sauce, finished with fresh coriander

We had boiled white rice to share and although it doesn’t seem as if there’s too much food on the plate, between our meat, the shared rice and pitta bread, we had plenty of food to keep our bellies full.

By the time dessert came around, I was quite tempted by the sound of zesty lemon sorbet, but decided I couldn’t really fit it into my full tummy, so disappointedly had to kindly refuse a third course.

The Nile Valley Cafe can be found near the Mosque at 6 Chapel Street, EH8 9AY. To make a reservation, call 0131 667 8200.

Have you visited the Cafe? What’s your favourite dish?


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