Great Food
Reviewer: Aalok Wadhwa | 18th October 2015 | Reviewer Rating (Out of 5) 3.75

Please Note: The review was anonymously done after paying for the meal.

Living in NCR does have its advantages for a foodie. One of the many is the fact that foreign embassies are now beginning to open up their cultural centres to Indian citizens to give them a taste of the food they have. Italian cultural centre was the first one to start, and now the Ethiopian one has followed. And thank god they did, because otherwise, we would have been deprived of the delicious dishes they have to offer.

The restaurant is situated in a charming traditional building that houses the cultural centre in the diplomatic district. I have invested in a membership to the cultural centre (annual fee, Rs 2500) and find it a convenient place to meet others. The restaurant here is a trifle boring looking. It has glass-topped tables and a selection of dals and whole spices under the glass (allegedly Ethiopian dals and spices but procured locally, the helpful server informs us).

The food here is rather delicious. First, a basic primer on Ethiopian cuisine. As per Wikipedia, it consists of vegetable and often spicy (not so much for the Indian palate), meat dishes, usually in the form of wat, a thick stew, served atop injera, a large sourdough flatbread, which is about 50 centimeters (20 inches) in diameter and made out of fermented teff (an Ethiopian grass) flour.

Ethiopian food has a large variety of vegetarian dishes. We decide to order veg and non veg Beyaynetu (Rs 470; assorted vegetarian dishes served in on injera) between the two of us. Both have a nice selection of dishes. The vegetarian one has defen mesir (black lentils cooked with Ethiopian spices), missir kik (red lentils again cooked with special spices), fosolia bekarrot (green beans and carrots), tikil gommen alicha (cabbage cooked with potato, garlic tumeric) and an amazing shiro wat (pea powder cooked a la Ethiopia).

                                      Veg Beyaynetu

The carnivore Beyeynetu similarly has Ethiopian national dish doro wat (chicken cooked with special chilly and onion sauce), its mutton version beg wat, begg alicha (mutton curry cooked with onion, garlic and ginger turmeric sauce), and begg tibs (mutton sliced fried with garlic, onion fresh chilly), again served over a giant injera bread. The curry is so near and yet so far from our Indian curries. The mutton is served on a large marrow bone with tons of marrow peaking out of the bone. The meat is yielding and the marrow sublime. The curry has an exotic flavour, though it is not as spicy as I would have preferred. This is soon rectified when I request the friendly wait staff from some chutney – he nods his head and comes back with (what I later discover) berbere, the most popular hot and spicy spice for Ethiopian cooking. It is a blend of red chili, garlic, salt and more. The meal certainly perks up once I start using it like our own gunpowder, along with injera. Begg tibs is dry, somewhat chewy, small bits of meat cooked with slices of capsicum and onions, with an interesting taste. What really decorates the meal is the soft, fluffy (like a flat appam, though more fermented and sour) injeras. I find them most addictive, and polish the last bit mopping the mutton curry with it.

                                 Non-veg Beyaynetu

Ethiopian cuisine is not too hot on desserts, and what the restaurant has to offer are the clichéd Indian sweets. So we both decide to go for the other specialty, freshly roasted Ethiopian coffee. It is an espresso made out of Arabica coffee, served in a china cup without handles with sugar and, cold popcorn. Though surprised at first, I realize soon that it is a great combination. A warm glow of happiness sets in as we silently sip the coffee and munch the popcorn. A glow that any foodie will recognize as the result of having had a fine meal.

Go on, have a meal of a cup of coffee with friends at the Blue Nile. Chances are that you will love it for its slice of Ethiopian exotica.

Ratings out of 5:

Food: 4.0 | Ambience: 3.0 | Service: 4.0 | Overall: 4.0

Meal for two: Rs. 1000| Alcohol: Yes | Credit Card: Yes | Wheel chair friendly: Yes | Address: 7/50, G Niti Marg (near Nehru Park), Chanakya Puri, New Delhi | Telephone: 24673654

About the Author
Aalok Wadhwa Aalok Wadhwa
Restaurant Information
Ethiopian Cultural Centre Ethiopian Cultural Centre
7/50, G Niti Marg (near Nehru Park), Chanakya Puri, New Delhi
Telephone: 011-24673654 view on a map
Opening Hours:
Cuisine: Ethiopian
Average Price: Rs. 800 - 1000