For Rick’s birthday recently we went to Wolkite Kitfo – a family run Ethiopian restaurant in Highbury, London.
You wouldn’t think that there would be a restaurant on the street as there isn’t much around the area and it you might feel a little unsure when you see it on the outside but when you walk you feel like you are no longer in London and suddenly you are transported to a local restaurant in Ethiopia. It is a simple, chilled-out atmosphere with murals on the walls and a little television in the corner.
Beverage wise, they serve the usual soft drinks, beers, spirits, but they also serve a homemade honey wine that they make themselves. It is served in a vase-like bottle and we were told that you are supposed to drink it out of the bottle, not pour it into a glass to drink. It is sweet like a cider and it does grow on you (although I’m not sure whether I was just amused by the fact that it is homemade and I felt very suave drinking it through the little bottle).
We didn’t know what or how to order as none of us had ever tried Ethiopian before but our waiter helped us to pick a good selection of curries.
Large crepe-like platters were placed on our tables and then out came the curries in little pots. The waiter scooped out spoonfuls of curry and placed them in need circles around the platter. We also had some extra rolled up crepes on the side which we were told to use to eat the curry. It was a no-cutlery, sharing-platters-in-the-middle affair and it was really quite fun. A very social way of eating with your friends.
The crepe was slightly sour and fluffy and took me a couple bites to get used to, but the curries were absolutely delicious (although I couldn’t tell you what we ordered)! Even when we were full, we kept nibbling at it all.
Next came the traditional coffees which was very ceremonial (in fact I actually read up about this afterwards and realised that it is a full on ceremony in Ethiopian culture). They roast the coffee beans and set the on the table for us to small the smokey aroma while the beans cool down. Next they grind the coffee, add boiling water and serve alongside burning incense sticks and a small snack of popcorn to accompany it.
The coffee was rich and intensely flavoured and you could really taste the smokiness of the roasted beans.
It was a really fun eating experience and I would definitely go with a group of people again.