Reviews for Cafe Abyssinia
by Siromi Ansell
29 days ago
I went there for lunch yesterday with my son. We enjoyed the food, specially the sour dough flat bread. I have never eaten it before. It had a spongy texture and was great to have with the beef and lamb dishes we ordered. I had a coffee recommended by the waitress and which came from the Harar region in Ethiopia and was a nice way to end the meal.
The waitress was very friendly and helpful and I would certainly go there again.
by Fleur Peps
5 months ago
LOVE this place. I will be back again with friends for sure.
The service was really polite and the food was explained well to us, along with how it was going to be served and how best to eat.
We tried about 5 different dishes in our large group and it all tasted fantastic. Really liked the vegetarian dish. Teamed with the bread, it does end up being a fairly sizable amount of food.
The service was a tad on the slow side but that's to be expected for a busy place with not many staff it would seem.
I recommend you give this place a go. Book in advance if you can - just in case. They were full when we were there!
6 months ago
We dine here quite regularly and every time it has been a pleasant experience. The food is delicious and the dining experience is unique. The staff are very welcoming and friendly which I really value in a restaurant. I would highly recommend Cafe Abyssinia to anyone. It's become one of my favourite restaurants in Auckland :)
by Francesca De Jong
6 months ago
Dare to be different, get out of your comfort zone and try Cafe Abyssinia, New Zealand's first and only Ethiopian restaurant.
Located in the culturally diverse suburb of Mt Roskill, Cafe Abyssinia offers a culinary experience like no other. All food is consumed with your hands and is all authentically Ethiopian. I can highly recommend the Yebeg Alicha Wot, lamb sautéed and then slow cooked with chopped garlic, ginger, onions and turmeric, it has an exquisite buttery taste and is offset perfectly when eaten with Injera, a sourdough-risen flatbread with a unique, slightly spongy texture
The waitress was lovely and happy to answer any questions we had or give recommendations on things to try. The decor is simple and more in-line with a cafe setting, but never-the-less Cafe Abyssinia is perfect for when you want an adventurous treat.
by Ida March
9 months ago
Delicious food and enjera (bread) and courteous staff. Have been here a few times and tried different dishes. Can't work out why the food takes a while to come out when there aren't many customers, but I overlook this as soon as I get the food into my mouth. The flavours are amazing, a totally different cuisine if you have never had this before.
If you are a dainty type of person, take some finger wipes in your bag so you can clean yourself up afterwards. This is traditional ethopian style, so the food is eaten using your fingers and enjera/bread instead of cutlery.
9 months ago
Went with high hopes - but as the other reviewer Robert N said
$15 for two chicken legs doesn't say Value for Money. And the vegetarian dish was small. Would have been OK if taste and flavour were outstanding but no - failed on that front too.
As we were the only people in the restaurant at the time - they weren't rushed off their feet - so hard to explain why other reviewers found the place so wonderful. You might have better luck when you go.
by Frances M
10 months ago
Great place and great service.
Really lovely atmosphere and enjoyed eating something completely new to me!
The service was great and there was a good vibe.
All the food was so delicious and they do a killer hot chocolate to finish things off.
by Emma Wilson
11 months ago
If you are after a different food experience then Ethiopian cuisine is one to try. We shared 5 dishes between 5 of us with plenty of enjera. I usually can't handle spicy food and I found everything I ate to be mild to medium but some of the group clearly picked up spicier parts of the dishes. The dinner menu only has 8 items with not a lot of variety but eating with the breads and your hands makes you think less about what you are eating.
by Rebecca Smith
11 months ago
I have heard amazing things about Cafe Abyssinia so I was really looking forward to trying it. I finally got to go for lunch with friends and we ordered the Yetsom Beyaynetu, Doro Wot (Chicken marinated with fresh lime juice and simmered in freshly chopped onions, garlic and ginger, berbere and flavoured herbal butter) and Yebeg Alicha Wot (Sauted lamb slow cooked with chopped garlic, ginger, onions and tumeric). All were served with enjera, a yeast-risen flatbread with a unique, slightly spongy texture. You with your hands using the enjera to scoop up the meat and sauces. The dishes themselves were delicious with amazing flavour and spices however the enjera had an unpleasant taste (like a strong lemony baking soda) and we couldn't eat it after a while. I'm not sure if it always tastes like that or if we had a bad batch but I will definitely be going back to find out as I have only heard good things about Cafe Abyssinia.
by Robert Noble
11 months ago
Most dissapointed, $15 for two small chicken legs and an egg with loads of their home land bread that did not fast nice.
When paying it was time to pay the pill I was over charged I felt ripped off.
by Kate W
Nov 18, 2013
I'd read about Cafe Abyssinia and was very curious about trying the place out. I've only ever been to one other Ethiopian place before, in London, and it was always a special evening. Unfortunately the location isn't great here, it's in a small shopping mall, tucked away at the end and is very much a cafe rather than a restaurant which also means of course, no wine. Having said that, the food was very good - the injera (savoury, doughy pancake) and the beef tartare were my faves. And the ceremonial coffee at the end (on request only- it's not on the menu) was fantastic.
by Chris Robertson
Oct 28, 2013
I honestly had to make an account on here just to give Café Abysinnia an amazing review.
Everything was amazing right down to the hot chocolates we ordered, strangely they were better than most cafe's I've ever been too.
I don't know quite what else to say apart from I recommend checking them out for an amazing experience!
Oct 19, 2013
We stumbled across this place today when we were out exploring Mt Roskill. The food certainly looks interesting. And they know how to make excellent coffee. Do check them out.
by Cheap Eats
Sep 26, 2013
If you're looking for something different to your usual Thai, Japanese, Indian Chinese rotation of eating out, check out Auckland's first Ethiopian restaurant. It has a range of spiced stews (spiced, rather than spicy) all served with enjera, a tradtional Ethiopian spongey-style unleavened bread with a great slightly sour taste. For more detail and dish recommendations go to http://cheapeats.co.nz/cafe-abyssinia/
Sep 10, 2013
Such an interesting place to dine at. Food was delicious and staff were very helpful. They took their time explaining each dish to us and recommending particular dishes. We ended up ordering a mixed variety of everything between my partner and I. Very reasonably priced. Would recommend people to get out of their comfort zone and try something new!
Aug 21, 2013
Yes, you read that right. Ethiopian food has arrived in Auckland. Café Abyssinia opened its doors several months ago and you could hear the collective rumble of delight from local foodies. I shouldn’t have been surprised when Dumpling Club members requested this for our next outing; several of our well-travelled members have eaten at Ethiopian restaurants in the US and Australia and raved about the cuisine.
Café Abyssinia is located in the new Tulja Centre at 190 Stoddard Road in Mt Roskill, a suburb known for its ethnic diversity. Tulja Centre has a stark, almost clinical look, punctuated by kitsch plastic trees festooned with fairy lights for flowers. It's just so random; I can’t wait to come here in the evening to see them in their glory. The décor at Café Abyssinia is just as cheerful, luckily in a more elegant manner, and evokes the colours of the Ethiopian flag,.
The menu focuses on traditional fare, with 9 different (and variations of) mainly stews (wot) or sautéed (tibs) dishes, all served on enjera, a spongey sourdough flatbread. There is also a raw beef dish (reminiscent of tartare) called kifto.
I especially love the whole ritual of it, the washing of hands, the serving of the food, and the coffee ceremony. A large ewer and basin is brought out and poured over the hands of the diners, and a hand towel offered. Note that if you come in a large group or if they are busy, this is skipped, which is a real shame.
The food is shared between diners. Pieces of enjera come in a large metal platter, and then the small dishes of meat or vegetables are poured onto the pancakes. To eat, you tear off segments of enjera, scoop or roll small amounts of side dishes and somehow try and pop this into your mouth without making a mess of things.
The vegetarian combo (yetsom beyaynetu) is my pick; you get stewed cabbage and carrot, and two spicy lentil dishes. Yehbeg alicha wot, stewed lamb with aromatics is tender and delicious. The lamb tibs were unfortunately chewy and rather bland compared to the doro wot, the spicy and tender, melt-off-the-bone chicken. I couldn't get the hang of trying to tear off bits of hard boiled egg with the soft enjera.
To finish off your meal, you must try the Ethiopian coffee. The owners roast the beans themselves, to maintain the authenticity. The coffee comes in a earthenware pot (jebena) and poured into small cups. The slightly citrusy coffee is wonderful to sip as wafts of incense envelopes the table.
Jul 28, 2013
I have loved ethiopian food for a long time. One of my earliest memories of eating out was going to an ethiopian restaurant with a huge platter of injera, covered in a variety of different fragrant dishes. Since then I have always had something of a soft spot for it, but in Auckland, until recently I Ethiopian food was hard to come by.
So with some excitement we trundled off to Cafe Abyssinia, located at the back of a mall. For those unfamiliar with Ethiopian food the mainstay of it is basically assorted dishes of meat, pulses or vegetables cooked in a spiced curry of sorts. Ethiopia as a trading nation has a rich heritage of different influences and frankly has very tasty cuisine. The cornerstone of the food is injera which is a flat bread made with teff flour. Teff is a super grain of sorts and is highly nutritious. It has a number of interesting properties, not least of which is the elastic dough that it produces. There is nothing quite like injera made with teff, it is chewy, elastic and delicious.
Cafe Abyssinia is not expensive. It costs around $15 for some injera and a dish and this can easily be shared between two. Six of us went to dinner and it costs around $10 or so each, so it was really affordable, we ended up with too much food. Thankfully however I got to try a large majority of the dishes on the menu.
My favourite dish on the menu was the equivalent of steak tartare. Raw steak minced with spices and served with the ubiquitous injera. It was a lovely texture and fragrant and I think the pick of the items on the menu. There were also a lot of cooked dishes as well, including lamb, beef, chicken and others. None of which were bad at all, but perhaps less memorable.
There were however a couple notable problems for me with the food. Firstly the dishes on a whole were under seasoned and perhaps toned down for a western palate (not sure, but it felt like this too me). The sauces tended to be on the weak side and one dimensional. The real disappointment however was the injera. I suspect it was not made with teff at all, but even if it was it must have been cut with a lot of other flour, probably wheat. The result was not anything like the injera I have had before. It lacked the characteristic flavour and more importantly texture. This was disappointing for me, as it is one of the greatest appeals of Ethiopian food. I might mention as well tha the food was not served on the injera, which is how it normally would. This allows the dishes to seep into the bread and makes the injera delicious to eat. You obviously can pour them on the bread, but it was a shame.
The did however serve some nice Ethiopian style coffee. It was served with incense and I really enjoyed the mingling of flavours and smell with this. It was a nice finish to the meal.
Ultimately for me Cafe Abyssinia, is not terrible, but is not as good as it could be. Like I said, I enjoyed their equivalent of steak tartare and some of the other dishes. The chicken was over cooked, but the lamb and beef were fine. I appreciate that teff flour may be impossible to get here and they are doing the best they can. It cannot be easy making traditional Ethiopian food in New Zealand given the relatively small community. I am thankful to have Ethiopian food here, as it is one of the great food traditions of the world. However the technical difficulties and poor injera, was disappointing. I would however recommend it based on its price as a nice diversion from the ordinary food available. The serving staff were also very nice on the day we went.
by James Wong
Jul 01, 2013
Authentic & very delicious. Staff were friendly and very helpful in explaining and recommending each dish to us (as first timers). We ordered Tibs (Juicy beef or lamb fillet stir fried), Kitfo (raw beef), and Kai Sega Wot shared between 4 people.
Happy with our first time trying Ethiopian food will likely return for more.
by Jamie Blackman
Mar 22, 2013
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!
Feb 14, 2013
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!
by Emma H
Dec 11, 2012
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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