Fenan Klein Afrika (Amsterdam, NL)
My friend Mike from DC has been living in Amsterdam for about 2 years now. For some reason he knows all the good food spots here better than I do. This week he took me to an Eritrean restaurant called “Fenan, Klein Afrika”. I had never eaten Eritrean food before so this was a new experience. Not just food wise but the whole eating experience altogether was new.
You basically order a couple of dishes and you get them served on a huge plate, on “injera” which is like a bread pancake. You eat the food with your hands by tearing off a piece of the injera and taking the different things off the plate with it. In the end you have to eat the injera where the food is put on. It requires a whole eating strategy, I can tell you that. It’s also a great way to take someone to dinner, who is always on their phone. In this restaurant you can’t be on your phone because your hands are full of food. Ha.
So Mike and I ordered three dishes (see picture above). Tebsi (lamb stuff), Kitfo (beef stuff) and Doeba (sort of like a mashed pumpkin dish). The Tebsi was awesome! In combination with the Doeba it was even more awesome! I wasn’t too blown away by the Kitfo, but the other two dishes were definitely tasty. It was a new taste for me because the spices they use are not something I was familiar with, nor in this combination of foods.
Now everybody that knows me, knows I don’t drink alcohol. But, of course I had to taste the beers after seeing the kind of flavors they had. Mike got banana beer and coconut beer. I took a sip of both and boy this stuff could really throw me off the wagon again. I don’t really like beer (or any alcoholic drink for that matter), but I love me some banana and coconut and honestly, those beers tasted very good! I kept it at a sip though.
Of course I had to save room for a typical African dessert despite me grubbin like a pig (with my hands) on the main dish. I decided to go for yogurt with nuts, honey and linseed. The linseed looked like chocolate. In fact, the dessert looked like dame blanche but the first bite probably gave me a funny face because the taste experience was very uncommon. At least to me, a regular Western European gal. I loved the combination of the yogurt, honey and linseed together with the walnuts. I wasn’t crazy about the raisins in it but I don’t like raisins much in anything. Aside from that, the dessert was very good!
After my Eritrean food experience I was allowed a peek in the kitchen to meet Chef Jimmy. His name is not Jimmy but Zemenemfis or something that sounds somewhat like that. Since I had a hard time pronouncing it, let alone writing it down, he just said “just put down Jimmy” haha. Jimmy is the owner of Fenan and has been living in Amsterdam for 20 years now. He imports most of the vegetables and spices all the way from Eritrea but gets the meat locally. Thank you for letting me take a look in the kitchen and for the great food you prepared Jimmy!
All in all the food was wonderful. I definitely love tasting new flavors and spices that have never entered my mouth (or brain for that matter) before. The restaurant is not big but it was packed. All tables were taken. The vibe and interior was very nice and the music was not too loud but nicely in the background, creating a somewhat African vibe. The only not so wonderful part was the fact they only have one waiter, so it was a lot of waiting. But the food was definitely worth it.
Allround restaurant experience: ***
Restaurant Fenan Klein Afrika
Jan Pieter Heijestraat 147
1054 MG Amsterdam