They say change is as good as a holiday. If that’s true, then a visit to Ethiopian Café and Artifacts could earn you a stamp on your passport.
Walking through the door, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped straight into Africa. Brightly coloured flags hang from the ceiling, the walls are adorned with traditional woven textiles and artwork and tables are dotted with mesobs – the colourful straw baskets that group meals are served in.
And eating in a group is how this cuisine is best experienced. Ethiopian cuisine characteristically consists of thick, spicy stews called wats, made of vegetables and meat. The different wats are served atop flatbread that resembles sourdough, called injera. Instead of using utensils, Ethiopians eat with their right hands, using chunks of injera to scoop up the wat.
Besides wat and injera, Ethiopian Café and Artifacts menu offers other traditional dishes such as tibs, marinated meat sautéed with spices, and yeshimbra assa, chickpea fritters cooked with berbere – a mixture of spices that dominates Ethiopian and Eritrean cuisine.
Once finished with your meal, don’t pass up the chance to participate in a coffee ceremony, which takes place in a purpose-built tent. In Ethiopian culture, the making and drinking of coffee is revered – surely due to the fact that the drink originated there.
Right in front of your eyes, the coffee beans are roasted over hot coals and then ground in a wooden mortar and pestle. The coffee grounds are then boiled twice in a special pot called a jebena before being poured through a horsehair filter. The perfect end to a delicious meal.
So if you’re tastebuds are in need of an exotic vacation, this Hamilton Hill restaurant is well worth a visit. Because a change really does do you good.
(Also published in Agenda)