Ethiopian food doesn’t naturally fall on my radar, and my knowledge of it is best summed up using one word: zero. But it was Sunday, the hottest day of the year, and while panting around New Town it was the first place that I saw. Ok, went the thought process, let’s give it a go.
A large part of me is glad that I did. The menu – a crumpled piece of paper – is filled with exotica labeled with strange, unfamiliar names: tikil gomen, yebeg tibs, etcetera, etcetera. You could spend all day just reading those words out, rolling them on the tongue with a satisfied smile.
As it transpires, there’s one way of serving these mains, and it’s truly ingenious: on injera, a spongy flatbread that’s used to scoop up the food. Basically, you eat the plate. Brilliant. And yes, the food was great: juicy chicken seasoned with onions, garlic and ginger, not to mention meaty chunks of fish. Definitely messy, but brilliant nonetheless. Unfortunately, it wasn’t what we ordered.
And here’s the small print. Abyssinia is great, I love it already. But don’t always expect a smooth ride. In spite of being one of two tables, our food took 40 minutes to arrive, and when it did it wasn’t as requested. And though we found the beef substituted for fish, both made it onto the bill – something we discovered following an inspection of the check after we’d already left.
So yeah, up and downs aplenty. Will it deter me? Definitely not. Elements of fiasco behind the scenes don’t have that effect: if the kitchen gets it right, then it’s just a matter of time till the rest of the place follows suit. And once it does, then Warsaw is the winner.
(Text: AW; Photos: AW & Facebook)
Rynek Nowego Miasta 21, open 12:00-22:00