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This is a cuisine with which I am quite familiar, and I was extremely impressed. The beef with berbere sauce was excellent, the vegetarian combo was spectacular, the injera (flatbread that serves as both substrate and utensil) was perfect and the service was fantastic.
If you are unfamiliar with Ethiopian food, do try it. It’s not as spicy as Thai or Indian, but every bit as flavourful. The hottest spice in the cuisine is generally paprika, giving what is essentially a ‘curry’ more of a sweet smokiness than a burn, per se.
Yes, the traditional way to eat Ethiopian food is with your hands and injera (much like eating hummus with pitas). But get this: the owner will actually come to your table to wash your hands for you both before and after the meal. That, children, is what is called “service” in the far Northern land of my birth.
If you absolutely insist on eating with knives and forks, you have but to ask, I’m sure.
This is a wonderful treat! There hasn’t been an Ethiopian place in Auckland in years. You must go there!
SO GOOD! If you want genuine Ethiopian food, this is the place. I have eaten Ethiopian food in many different countries, including Ethiopia itself, and the dishes at Cafe Abyssinia are right up there with the best. You eat with your hands because that’s the traditional way – if you want cutlery you can ask for it. It’s a really genuine experience. Stay for the beautiful coffee afterwards!
We tried two dishes off the small but interesting menu. A spicy chicken (on the bone) stew and a slow cooked cabbage and carrot mixture. These came with lentils and a tomato kasundi type sauce. All the meals are accompanied by enjera – a traditional Ethiopian flat bread. Lovely flavours and after tastes but the downside was you eat with your hands – the idea is to take some bread (more like a thick aerated crepe) and use the bread to pick up the pieces of the meal. Unfortunately we had to ask for serviettes. There is plenty of parking behind the building and an elevator or stairs to take to the cafe level where you will find several other ethnic eateries. Worth a try if you don’t mind getting messy.
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