Columbus >Drelyse African Restaurant
Delicious African Cuisine.
Drelyse is a little African restaurant in the center of Tamarack Circle in North Columbus. The owners used to run a restaurant in Ghana, so the authenticity is unquestionable.
We arrived and everything on the menu sounded great. We threw ourselves on the mercy of our host, the husband of the owner and a wonderful food guide. He did his best to steer us 'first-timers' to flavors more suited to the Western palate, but we assured him that we were foodies. He then, happily, pointed out the local favorites, local to Ghana that is.
Our host brought 2 soups for us to sample. One was goat and the other was peanut-butter beef and both had a few small bits of FuFu in it, a starchy, doughy dumpling. We tasted and swapped and decided they were both terrific. The broths were so very rich and deep in flavor that I almost forgot to share. The goat soup was spicy and the beef soup was spicier, but neither was too hot and the flavor was complimented not overwhelmed, just enough to put a little sweat on the brow.
Our host explained that West African food is eaten with the hands and he brought over a small ceramic basin of soapy water. We dipped our hands for a quick wash. He then produced a jug of clean water which he poured over our hands to rinse them. I love a good food ritual, so this was fun and elegant at the same time.
We decided on Sambusa and Vitumbua for appetizers. Sambusa is a small flaky pastry filled with spiced meat (and I mean filled, more meat than pastry) and served with a spicy-sweet sauce. Crisp and deliciously meaty. The Vitumbua was a dense, chewy fried dough muffin/biscuit/cake, lightly sweet but also savory at the same time. A great start!
We chose Goat Soup and Jollof Rice with Chicken for our entrees. Our host brought out two steaming plates plus a softball-sized bread round. The bread round was actually a dish called Banku and it's a sticky ball of fermented cassava dough that felt very much like uncooked bread dough (just MUCH stickier, you have to eat it off your fingers or you'll never get it off). Grab a sticky wad of Banku, use it to grab a piece of meat from the soup, and eat both. Banku has a potato-ish taste and goes great with their soup. Tasty and fun! The Jollof Rice was bright red with a lovely sauce on top and I have never tasted rice with that much flavor before. No tableware, so the banku was used to eat the rice too. The tomatoes and onions on top of the chicken were spectacular and I cannot pretend to know how they made them taste so good. Maybe they were pickled, might be magic, but they were far tastier than the plain onion and tomato they seemed to be. The chicken, ah the chicken, I don't know what spices were on it, but it was really tender and so good. Packed with flavor through and through, not just a coating, but a permeated flavor that made for some really good eating right down to the last morsel!
I'm a pretty big eater, but, since every bite included some banku, I filled up long before I cleaned my plate And I really wanted to clean my plate! And I wanted to clean the plates of the people sitting next to us (their fish dish looked awesome, takes 40 minutes to cook, so call ahead for that). I really wanted to be hungry again so I could order other items from the menu, but I was so stuffed that I didn't have room for dessert (or a deep breath).
We repeated the hand-washing ritual again to clean up, but I wish I hadn't because, now, hours later, I would be happy if my hands tasted and smelled like their amazing food.
I can honestly say it was better than finger licking good, it was lick-your-friend's-fingers good. Heck, it was knock-your-Momma-down good (yeah it's THAT good). I am looking forward to tasting every item on their menu, so I'm already planning a return trip. And it's only five minutes from my house! If you hit Drelyse, and I think you should, you'll probably see me there with a handful of food and a big smile on my face!
Great family-style service...amazing food!. I am always warmly welcomed by Drelyse's owners (a lovely married couple). They kindly explain the menu to newcomers (as well as to repeats like me!) and always accomodate your concerns/likes/dislikes. Their daughter is also a great hostess who has been assisting since my first meal there. The food is hearty, rich, and truly reflects the depth and flavor of Ghanian (African) food. Although it's located in my childhood neighborhood, I now travel from Dayton for the treat!
A Taste of Africa...with Class.
I went to Tamarck Circle - because that's where I was told to go - but I was not told there are 2 African resturants in the neighborhood. I went to the other one (not Drelyse) and it was just ordinary.
Several months passed and while entertaining a group of out-of-town guests, a trusted friend of mine highly recommended Drelyse - but I was not sure of what to expect.
When I walked in there, the tables set with cutlery and napkins made a very good first impression. The curteous staff came up to me with the menu and came back a few minutes later to take my order. I chose to eat with my fingers and our server graciously offered to pour the water over my hands as I washed them. And I like the pitcher and the bowls for washing hands.
The meal was great (I had banku with Okra), and my guests could not stop talking about how impressed they were.
Suffice it to say, it's been less than a month since my initial trip to Drelyse and I have been there 2 additional times already.
The experience has been great every time and I highly recommend Drelyse. It represents that African hospitality and excellence in service that will rival the likes of Golden Tulip or any first class restaurant in Accra.
Delicious authentic West African Food. Very tasty, ethnic atmosphere, very friendly service, good date idea. Its a laid-back atmosphere. They give free samples. Try the fufu with peanut soup
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