Tuesday, 18 November 2008

02. Abyssinia

Abyssinia, 9 Cricklewood Broadway, 020 8208 0110

Gourmand writes: The eager gorging on the other side of the large silver tray confirmed my suspicions. After the initial otherness of using a spongy flatbread, the ubiquitous injera, as a spoon, a plate and a main course, Ethiopian cuisine passes for classic comfort food. The doro wat and injera is a spiced-up beef stew and dumplings, and my novice tablemate, a stew obsessive, required no functioning gorms (lucky that...) to realise this was damn good food.

With a prod or two of a spoon - the only eating utensil we were given - pieces of tender chicken fell from the bone into a spicy, dark red pepper sauce. The injera was delicious, with a hint of sourness from fermentation and a fiery kick from the doro wat's onion, red pepper and paprika soaked up and stored in its spongy seams. A couple of milder lamb wats and a potato dish were fine additions to the injera party and our increasingly breathless gluttony became obtrusively apparent when we turned our heads to admire the Abyssinia Special, an everything-on-the-menu spectacular dished up to the couple behind us.

We ate so quickly and contentedly, and washed it all down with glasses of tej (honey wine), we barely noticed the 1970s decor. The place could do with a makeover, but competitive prices, friendly service, authentic music and damn good food makes this one place on the Broadway I'll definitely revisit.

Gormless writes: Call me gormless - everybody else does - but I thought Ethiopia didn't have a cuisine. I thought that was the whole problem. Why did we spend the 1980s flying over our fried breakfasts and roast dinners if they had their own grub the whole time? On Saturday night I was enlightened by my culinary-cultural improver, Gourmand, who took me to Abyssinia.

After Mr Chan's last week, it was nice to go to a restaurant with such fripperies as a waiter and a tablecloth. We started with a glass of tej, a honey wine I quickly acquired a taste for. We ordered doro wat, the chicken and red pepper sauce national dish, and a similar lamb option. Gourmand, in a tragic attempt to impress me, ordered some hot chilli peppers. I think he wanted to prove he was 'game for a laugh' on a Saturday night, contrary to comments left on this blog! After a bit of a wait, our waiter brought out injera (Gormless definition: a big, sweet pancake) on a metal tray and spooned our food on to it. We were to use spare bits of injera to grab the food and deliver it down our gullets. It tasted a bit like curry. By the time we had wolfed down most of the meal the juice had nicely infused into the main injera which provided a wonderful finish. The whole thing was delicious.

It's payback time. May Ethopia 'feed the world' their tasty fare.
Abyssinia storms into the lead!


  1. spanking good read before bed! although this had me munching on corn cakes (yes in bed) and holding back the drool.

  2. sorri gormless m8 but dis week i gotta ave a go @ u. u r giving ur class a bad name wot wiv yr ignorant comments about serious issues like famine and unger. every1 knows we didn't send em brekkie and dinner - dey ad our packt lunches too! sort it out.

  3. My favourite restaurant on the Cricklewood Broadway. Well done the Gullets boys.