Le Maestro, 45 Deptford Broadway, London, Deptford, UK SE8 4PH 9 October 2014 This was a combined “foods of the world” and “2D film club” meeting, where we would eat the food of Cameroon while discussing the film club film, which was The Draughtsman’s Contract. Poor turn out from the rest of film club, but Jamie did join us. The restaurant was empty apart from us and a couple of guys drinking on the other side of the restaurant. The walls were painted bright orange, and the tables simply laid out with starched white tablecloths. On the walls, large TV screens showed French sport TV, and a picture of national icon Samuel Eto’o hung near the toilets. A mix of African (and less African) music was playing (except when England-San Marino game came on, and they switched to that with the sound right up). It all felt pretty authentic – I imagine a restaurant in Yaoundé might be just like this.
We skipped starters (other than pints of Heineken) and went straight to mains, Joe opting for Poisson à l’arachide (fish in peanut sauce), which was rich, thick and sweet, with a pleasant tang of tomato. Jamie went for Viande à l’arachide, and Sophie for the Poulet roti (with plantain).
Steve went for the characteristic dish of Cameroon, Ndole. This was prawns and lamb chunks in a morass of oily green vegetable, spinach-like in consistency but more bitter. This was interesting at first, but the bitterness became too much eventually, and there was an awful lot of it. In fact, portions were very large all round.
With eyes bigger than our bellies, we also ordered side dishes of fried plantain and fungee sausages, which looked – and tasted – like something out of Alien: thick, cloying and sticky. It could be sliced into rubbery coins but, left on the plate as it ultimately was, it no doubt reassembled itself and went in search of another unsuspecting diner.
The waitress was very pleasant, as was another chap who may have been the owner, but service was very slow indeed.
Food: 2.5/5 Atmosphere:3.5/5