Ethiopian food is not new to Joburg. There are a fair number of Ethiopian eateries in the inner city along with an entire market in the CBD that caters to these restaurants as well as to the Ethiopians living in Joburg. The first time i tries any Ethiopian food was at the Little Addis stall (they now have a little restaurant in Maboneng), at the Market on Main, and I really loved the different curries and meats, not to mention the soft injera bread. Since then, I had been looking for more places that serve this delectable cuisine and I just happened to find one right in my neighbourhood!
Abysinia, located in Kensington in the east of the city, is a small restaurant, easy to miss if you aren’t looking for it. Situated amidst local stores and a salon, this eatery is a modest establishment dishing out authentic Ethiopian food. The decor is simple and sweet – lots of traditional cloths lining the walls along with woven baskets, hats and umbrellas (the brollies looked suspiciously Chinese to me!).
Our table of five was the only one occupied the day we went for lunch but that didn’t take away our excitement of trying a new place. Our waitress was really sweet and she patiently explained each dish on the menu for us. Since the majority of us were new to this cuisine, she recommended that we go for the ‘Mahberawi‘ – which is basically a combination platter of all the main dishes, served with injera (traditional bread made with fermented rice or durum wheat flour). This suited us fine as we would be able to sample a little bit of everything.
What we didn’t know was that the platter would be so HUGE that even the five of us wouldn’t manage to finish it! Some of the main things served on the platter were doro wot – chicken and boiled eggs cooked in traditional spices, and served in the centre of the dish; kitfo – beef mince, chilli and butter; and beyaynetu – lents, pumpkin, spinach, cabbage, beetroot. Along with this mammoth platter, the waitress even gave us a little serving of gored gored to taste. This was diced raw beef mixed with butter and loads of chilli powder. We also ordered a separate portion of tibs – diced beef which is fried and served with onions and green chilli, because it sounded too delicious to miss!
Each and every element on the plate was so full of flavour that we just could not stop eating. And the soft injera went so well with everything. I personally loved the doro wot and the lentils. To wash down all the food, we had some of the famous Ethiopian coffee. It was rich, dark and delicious.
The best part about this awesome meal was that it was so inexpensive! Including a couple of beers and coffee, we each ended up paying just a little over R100 each.
Corner Langerman Drive and Queens Street, Kensington,
011 6153128 / 072 918 8824