At Addis Ababa Cafe, cultural and religious cues are scattered throughout the intimate diner, and there’s African gospel music playing.

By Jessica Galletly (AdelaideNow) |

It’s not often that licking your fingers at a restaurant would be considered common practice. But at Addis Ababa Cafe, it’s almost a necessity.

There’s no cutlery here. You’re advised to wash your hands at the sink behind a timber screen in the corner, and then the “food will be out soon”.

The family-run Addis Ababa Cafe, named after Ethiopia’s sprawling capital, is a cultural gem.

Fairy lights twinkle along the straw facade, which looks like a hut, and the theme continues inside along the walls and above the counter.

Cultural and religious cues are scattered throughout the intimate diner, and there’s African gospel music playing.

But it’s the family’s mother Yenensh who makes our experience. Her beaming smile and passion for sharing her culture are contagious. We’re completely swept up in this world and can’t wait to taste it.

The menu and food is simple. Choose from a range of vegetarian or meat-based stews, or a mixed plate. That’s it.

It’s all served with plenty of “injera” – a spongy, unleavened flat bread.

Picture a giant pancake with a bubbled surface, like the top of a crumpet. That’s your eating apparatus. Tear bite-sized pieces to scoop up your bits.

A mixed veg and meat platter ($22) is satisfying to share along with one extra dish, keeping things under $40 for two.

One large injera has palm-sized scoops of four different stews – and they’ve divided the serve so that there’s four scoops on each side, making it easy for us to share.

There’s also a basket of extra injera rolled like hand towels – beware of filling up on that alone.

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