As you cross the street from the Forest Tram Stop heading along Gregory Boulevard into Hyson Green you are faced with the New Art Exchange just across the road. I was not expecting there to be any food options, but in the distance I could see a chalkboard so I headed over to investigate. I was pleasantly surprised to see the words “Fresh locally sourced home cooked food”, well that sounded interesting, so we popped in to take a look.
There was quite a good selection on the basic menu but it was the Chef’s Specials that stood out as being worth further investigation, by which I mean that I wanted to eat them all. I could not really decide between the Mutton or the Oxtail, but in the end I plumped for the Mutton. My companion went for the Chicken Biryani.
I really did not know what the Mutton in Berbere Spice was going to be like, I had never had this before. When it arrived I was really quite happy at least visually it was really hitting the mark. It was a thick meaty stew, with large chunks of mutton covered in a thick gravy interspersed with soft slices of red pepper, and onion. I did not know what was in the Berbere sauce as I was eating it, but it was a delicious sweet and spicy dish, not really a curry as such more of an African spiced casserole. The meat was great, there were some pieces that were crispy almost caramalised from the cooking process which was really a nice chew, together with other bits that were as tender as could be. There was so much flavour you could well believe that it had been marinating for 2 days as described on the menu.
I looked up the recipe for Berbere spice when I returned home and found that it is an Ethiopian dish comprising of; ‘whole cloves, cardomom seeds, black peppercorns, allspice, fenugreek seeds, coriander seeds, dried red chillies, grated ginger, turmeric, salt, paprika, cinnamon, and ground cloves’. It does not look that hard to make either so I might give it a go. There is a pretty straightforward recipe here
Chicken Biryiani recipes are either Indian or Pakistani in origin. The last time I had Biryani was in Hyderabad India which was the home of this dish. The Biryani served at the New Art Exchange has it’s flavour origins in Pakistan being made in the Karachi style. It might not have been as visually striking as the Mutton dish, but it was just as powerfully flavoured. The spice flavour crept up on you as you took a bite. There was a lot of chicken and you really got a delayed hit of spice, you could really taste the cardomom, and it was a really good rendition. It came served with a small leaf salad and a cooling raita as well.
The cafe at the New Art Exchange in Hyson Green is a really bright, clean space, unsurprisingly there is a bit of art lying around the place. I don’t know about exchanging any Art while I was there, but believe me I was not going to have to exchanging my ‘Mutton in Berbere spice’ for anything else, hands off!
Located at 39 – 41 Gregory Boulevard just across the street from the tram stop at The Forest. It is also within the 5 minute walking radius from the Noel Street stop and the Hyson Green Market stops