Bangkok's best bet for classic Ethiopian dishes.
Run by Ethiopian natives, from the owner to the cooks, this restaurant does exactly what the name says—classic Ethiopian dishes. Dining here, you’ll feel like you’re no longer in Thailand with the eclectic crowds conversing in multiple crowds and languages. Try the popular doro wat platter that comes with stew, vegetables and flatbread or a wide range selections of grilled meat. Bring some friends as portions are quite big and note that it’s located right next to an African pub where things can get pretty rowdy later on in the evenings.
Compared to the blaring live music, tinsel and strobes of Habesha, Ethiopian Restaurant used to provide Bangkok’s more sober Ethiopian dining experience—less basement disco, more auntie’s dining room. That’s not so much the case now they’ve added neon green and blue lighting and a bass-heavy sound-system pumping out Ethiopian pop, but what hasn’t changed is the bold flavors of the food.
If you’re new to the cuisine, Ethiopian is all about big sharing portions and eating with your hands. Dishes—mostly rich, condensed stews (or wat) flavored with a chili, cumin and garlic-heavy spice mix called berbere—all come served atop injera, an unstoppably moreish fermented flatbread with a distinctly sour flavor. Simply rip from the outside in and scoop up the wat as you go.
Portions are vast, making the B300-400 price tags of most meat dishes (injera included) a bargain when spread between 2-3 people. Sample a full range of the cuisine with an Ethiopia Meat Combo (B450), which along with two wat (one of stewed chicken leg, the other minced beef) comes with sauteed beef, lamb alicha (a lighter stew not featuring berbere), stewed chickpea and a simple Ethiopian salad of lettuce, tomato, pepper and onion in a sharp vinegar dressing—all served on top of injera, of course.
Though not as hot as some Ethiopian food we’ve encountered, it’s still a powerful amalgamation of flavors and spices that’ll linger on your fingers long after the meal is over. Criticisms? The tough centerpiece chicken leg is less exciting than the rich minced-meat stews that surround it, and thanks to the abundant use of berbere, many dishes can taste quite same-y. On our last visit, we also didn’t see any of the collared greens (gomen) or cottage cheese (ayib) which the menu promised. Still, the powerful collection of rich spices and more injera than we can bear finishing make for one satisfying experience.
Non-meat-eaters are well taken care of thanks to an abundance of similarly spiced vegetarian stews and salads—try the timatim fitfit (B150), which sees the standard Ethiopian salad blended with powerful amounts of fresh chili and shredded injera. And make sure you finish the meal on an intensely strong Ethiopian coffee, which comes served amid smoking incense with a snack of toasted barley.
This review took place in December 2016 and is based on a visit to the restaurant without the restaurant's knowledge. For more on BK's review policy, click here.
|Address:||Ethiopian Restaurant, Sukhumvit Soi 3 (Nana), Bangkok, Thailand|
|Price Range:||B - BB|
|Opening hours:||daily 10am-9pm|
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