Being a working girl has its perks, I guess. Every time you pull out that slim card from your wallet, you realise that you can now take care of yourself, that you don’t have to crack open the piggy bank or ask yourself a thousand times over, “Should I ask Mum Dad for some money, or leave it be?”
At the same time, like it is with everything else out there, you sacrifice as well. You don’t have all that much time to yourself. When the alarm goes off, you can’t roll over or snuggle deeper into your duvet and decide not to step out or bunk whatever plans you had. You have to get up, get ready and head to the one thing that allows you to fund yourself.
The point I am trying to make, through all my ramblings, is this: YOU DO NOT GET MUCH TIME TO GO OUT AND CHOMP ON AMAZING FOOD.
There, I said it. My biggest woe as a working girl is out there.
It had been ages since I had last gone out and enjoyed a good meal with my friends and God did I miss it. Thankfully, Hari’s birthday came round and I got the chance to not just go out and let lose but also experience a cuisine I never thought I’d try, let alone enjoy.
Addis, a small restaurant tucked away near the British Library serves authentic Ethiopian cuisine and for anyone reading this, a experience worth having.
A tad bit similar to the concept of sharing as is done in Indian cuisine, the food is served on plates with diameters as large as two backpacks put together. Maybe I am exaggerating here, but the plates were gigantic. Moving on from my shock on seeing the size of the cutlery, the food is served on these plates and everyone eats from the same plate, their chosen main courses served where they are seated. I can well imagine my explanation not doing much good, so I’m hoping the pictures to follow, will explain better.
With the walls seemingly plastered with dried mud, an appearance of cracks here and there, Ethiopian calligraphy decorating the ceiling and a soft yellow light emitting from all corners of the restaurant, Addis is welcoming and the aroma of food engulfs you, the moment you enter.
Once we were seated, my friends and I decided not to have any alcohol, instead, make it a night of fizzy drinks.
From someone who’s experienced the cuisine and restaurant, here’s a small tip. Don’t go there if you’re starving, neither should you go there with a belly somewhat full. The food is extremely heavy and leaves you with barely any energy to move or even leave your seat. Also, the food takes some time to prepare but that does not mean you should stuff yourselves full with the appetisers they have to offer !
For my starters, I chose Salata Aswad (deep fried aubergine salad, covered in rich tahini and yoghurt butter sauce served with pita bread)
Another starter that was ordered was Seneg Karia (green chillies stuffed with onion and tomatoes)
Another starter decided on, the only one that may not have wowed us was the Ayeb Be Gomen (cottage cheese mixed with thinly chopped spinach and cooked with various types of spices)
Once we had polished off the starters, we waited for the mains which arrived in due time. First, as mentioned before, came the gigantic plated with the Ethopian version of flat bread, Enjera.
Enjera is flatbread made with yeast and when you first start eating it, the sourness of the yeast is quite strong, but once the gravy of your main course is absorbed by the enjera, the food is absolutely DIVINE and that my friends, is no exaggeration.
While most of my friends and I chose Tibs Firefir (cubes of lean lamb with fried onion with seven special spices mixed) my room mate decided on Doro Firfir (chicken cooked with hot pepper and sauce of spices, mixed). My vegetarian friends chose the Yetesom Beyaynetu (mild mixed vegetable sauce made with cabbage, potatoes, carrots and chickpeas seasoned with special spices) while two of my more devious friends decided on the Addis Special (a mixed platter of meat: Chicken, lamb with fresh vegetable salad) to have a taste of everything there was to offer.
Soon, we were gorging and boy, did we enjoy the feast. If only, one of us could finish our portion though. Full to bursting by the end of it, we asked for the bill only when we found the energy to raise our hand and grab the attention of our server. If the world would allow it, I bet we would have gone home, rolling on the streets, instead of waddling at the slow pace that we did.
For my foodie readers out there, residing in London, I urge you to give this place a try and give your taste buds some love!