Food & Wine
Food from the heart of Ethiopia
Since its doors opened in Morningside a few months ago, local foodies have tucked into feast of flavourful sauces and delicious injera pancakes at Café Abyssinia, a cosy venue specialising in meat and vegetarian dishes, as well as traditional Ethiopian coffee, tea and fresh juice.
Owned by beautiful Ethiopian-born Charity Asfaw, this little gem introduces diners to the exotic dishes of Addis Ababa and a world of staple foods packed with flavour and punch.
“I visited South Africa 11 years ago with my mother and came back to work in the food industry in Cape Town where I met my husband. My sister owns a restaurant called Café Abyssinia in New Zealand and my dream was to have my own restaurant and cook good food to satisfy discerning palates. When we moved to Durban, I decided to open up a franchise and bring to the menu what we used to eat back home growing up.”
It’s spicy, tasty and full of tradition and culture – something completely different to the foods we know and are used to in Durbs.
Exciting dishes featured on the menu include Doro Wot – chicken marinated with fresh lime juice and simmered in freshly chopped onions, garlic and ginger, flavoured herbal butter and berbere (a key ingredient in Ethiopian cuisine, made up of all sorts of tasty spices like ginger, red pepper, cardamom, cumin and fenugreek.) Another popular dish is the vegetarian Shiro Wot of split peas ground together with herbs and spices and berbere, as well as a more meaty option, Yebeg Alicha Wot – sautéed lamb slow cooked with chopped garlic, ginger, berbere and flavoured herbal butter. There is a sizeable list of vegetarian and meaty dishes available to choose from and the veggie dishes are strictly vegan.
All come in varying levels of spice and are served with complimentary injera bread, a yeast-risen flatbread with a unique, slightly spongy texture and traditionally made out of teff flour. This is a national dish in Ethiopia.
“Typically, the way to eat Ethiopian cuisine is using your right hand to tear small pieces of injera and grasp the stews and salads. Injera, is placed under these stews to soak up the juice and flavour of the wot. Once the stews and salads are gone, the bread is finished off. The injera is therefore the food, eating utensil and plate.”
Wash this down with a freshly blended papaya, strawberry and avocado juice and call it a feast for the soul!
Café Abyssinia, 77 Problem Mkhize (Cowey) Road, is open weekdays 7am to 6pm and on weekends from 10am to 6pm.
Contact 031 836 4777.
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