A pair of reviews

I mentioned in my last post that I’d bought a copy of John D. Beasley’s Camberwell Through Time, but when I wrote that I’d only really glanced at it. Now I’ve had more time with it, I can give it a bit of a fuller review.

The book shows old photographs of Camberwell and compares them with a contemporary photo of the same location. This is a really interesting concept; it’s great to see views I recognise now look vastly different — such as seeing the former St George’s church on Wells Way with the canal running in front of it — and places that no longer exist, like the mansion that used to stand at the end of Wren Street.

The main problem with the book is that the modern photographs aren’t as good; they’re not great quality, a few are slightly out of focus, and some are taken from angles which hide much of the subject. Luckily this isn’t a huge drawback because we already know what the locations look like today!

The author’s obviously very knowledgeable about the area and provides plenty of references to other sources, so I can recommend this if you want to know more about your local history.

Moving on to a different subject, last weekend the wife & I ate at Zeret Kitchen, the Ethiopian restaurant, for the first time. I’ve been meaning to go there for literally years, but always managed to avoid it somehow; that was my loss. It’s unassuming both outside (you have to cross the concrete precinct of the Wyndham Estate) and inside (a few tables and chairs, not much in the way of decoration), but the food and service belie the appearance.

The manager is Taffe, who gave us a really warm welcome and helped us through the menu. When the food arrived she brought a small plate for herself and showed us how the food should be eaten, even feeding us pieces as a sign of friendship! There’s no cutlery, you eat using a special kind of flat bread called Enjerra (or Injera).

We had the Zeret Special which is a huge plate, like a sampler, of many different kinds of dishes. The spicy lentils (misir wot) and chopped beef (kitfo) were my favourites. The food is very different from West and Central African, and shows more of an Arabic influence, although it isn’t quite like that. Anyway, it was really good, and Taffe was wonderful, and you should all go there; don’t wait as long as I did.