When a friend of mine suggested going to an Ethiopian restaurant for a dinner get together, I realised that I knew absolutely nothing about Ethiopian cuisine. But I trusted my friend’s opinion, who told me that the food is “yummy”!
Addis is a pretty cool restaurant but be sure to make a reservation if you want to dine here. They have normal tables and chairs, but when they are busy, they also have a more casual seating area with straw like tables and little drum like seats. These straw tables reminded me of upturned sombrero hats.
When we arrived at Addis a little earlier than the time booked and told the waiter that we had a reservation, he kind of looked a bit puzzled and seated us in the straw area! But we did not have to wait too long before we were given a table.
Onto the food now. The way that it works is that you order an injera. The injera is made from the tiny Teff cereal and this is part of the staple Ethiopian diet. An injera is like a huge spongy pancake which has a sour taste. It is quite an acquired taste. Then, you order what fillings you would like. I say fillings, but these dishes are put in the middle of the injera and you just tear off parts of the injera and scoop the saucy food up with it. It’s a bit like when you have Indian food and you eat with your fingers instead of having any cutlery.
As we weren’t sure what to order, the waitress suggested the Addis special mixed platter. This was a range of dishes that had chicken, lamb, vegetables and salad. This platter could easily have served three people. The other recommendation was the vegetarian Yetesom Beyaynetu. This was made of six different types of dishes. These were cabbage, green beans, spinach, mashed chickpeas and two different types of lentils.
All of the food was made with a unique blend of spices. One of the main spices was berbere. Here’s a little bit of info about this spice.
Berbere is a spice mixture whose ingredients usually include chile peppers, ginger, cloves, coriander, allspice, rue berries, and ajwain. Berbere sometimes includes herbs and spices that are less well known internationally, including both cultivated plants and those that grow wild in Ethiopia.rn
I would describe the food as not being spicy in the green chilli sort of sense, but it had more of a peppery heat to it. All the food was definitely “yummy” just as my friend had said.
To finish the meal, we had coffee and got to experience the Ethiopian coffee ceremony. Here the coffee beans are roasted in a little pot and then the pot is brought out to the table. So you get to smell the aroma of the freshly roasted coffee beans. The beans are then taken back to the kitchen to be ground and then you are served with fresh coffee from the clay pot. I was expecting the coffee to taste really bitter but it wasn’t. It was very pleasant and very drinkable. The coffee was served to us in little cups and we also given a bowl of popcorn to accompany our hot drink.
Addis is great restaurant and it really makes you feel that having a meal and drink is a ceremony in itself. The staff were all so friendly and helpful. The service was quite slow but we were fine with that as we were not in any sort of a hurry.
Addis, 40-42 Caledonian Road, London, N1 9DTRating: