Sunday, 24 May 2009

Reviews Habesha, Manchester

Tenastellen! (that's hello in Amharic, Ethiopia's main language, you uncultured louts..)

Today we're going to review Habesha, Manchester's only Ethiopian restaurant. It's something of a diamond in the rough and quite an unknown entity in the Mancunian fine dining scene, basically, no one seems to know it actually exists. We know it exists however, and we know it's good. 

Ethiopia cuisine is essentially based around Injera - a unique flatbread made from the Teff grain. For those not in the know it's something like a cross between a pancake and a crumpet. They say you make your mind up whether you like Injera's tangy soft vibe the second you take a bite, meaning there's no room to grow to like it - we both loved it immediately. 

Every meal in Ethiopia involves slapping down some Injera on the table and then spooning a motley assortment of stews and salads on top. Sources inform us one American tourist mistook his injera for the table cloth!

The other staples of Ethiopian cuisine generally revolve around stews and mince meat. Sometimes a boiled egg gets involved here and there. Most crucially, however there is Gored Gored - raw beef mixed with a few spices. We're firm believers that munching on some raw beef is essentially the eating equivalent of bunjee jumping and so obviously well worth a try. 

Habesha, despite often being devoid of any custom, has many admirable qualities (least of all their ability to regularly undercharge us when it comes time to get the bill). The inside is nicely and sparsely decorated, you get the aforementioned bill in a nice colorful case, the service is quick and friendly, etc. etc. But let's get onto discussing the food....

As one of our blog's correspondents has been lucky enough to experience Ethiopian cuisine first hand, having travelled there, we feel we are in a relatively unique position in reviewing Habesha. Luckily we found their dishes fantastic - the kitfo was nicely spiced, the injera tangy and chewy, much like a savoury wheat flavoured starburst (what do they call them nowadays anyway?) and the Gored Gored appropriately raw. Highly recommended!


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