It’s very risky, this picking-a-restaurant-at-random business. Personally, I blame Sara from aboutaddisababa.wordpress.com for posting shameless food porn like this, rousing in me the most terrible of cravings for delicious Ethiopian dishes.
Clearly, this was a mission for Team Tapas. The good thing about my steadfast partners in culinary crime, Olga and Carmen, is that they will try just about anything, and when I confessed my desperate hankering for East African fare, they didn’t bat an eyelid. All they said was, “You go find us some”.
Now, when you hammer “Ethiopian restaurants, Madrid” into Google, don’t expect to be spoiled for choice. London it ain’t. The mightiest search engine ever conceived spat out a grand total of TWO hits. Oddly, both located in the same street. But somehow, this didn’t make the act of choosing any easier! I agonised for ages. Going by the pictures on these eateries’ websites, one looked rather staid, while the other place oozed an unsettling psychedelic-plastic trashiness. I opted for the former.
And staid it most definitely was. Walking through the restaurant’s front door was like stepping into a time machine – the decor hadn’t been updated since the mid-70’s. The walls were a kind of beigy yellow, the curtains had brown flowers on them, and I think there were tassels. I managed to erase the rest of the decorative splendour from my memory banks.
Even more disconcertingly, the place was totally empty. At 9.30. On a Saturday night. In a busy part of town. Not a good omen.
Due to my bladder having reached maximum storage capacity some time ago, the very first thing I did on arrival was stumble down the stairs to find a sparkling clean toilet. That restored my confidence somewhat.
Once relieved and seated, a friendly middle-aged lady clad in bright pink jogging pants, sloppy sweater and slippers (the owner, I presume) kindly advised us as we deliberated over our food choices. We opted for some samosa-like starters, a lamb stew and a yellow lentil dish.
The food arrived in less than ten minutes. And … it was thoroughly good. There was nothing fancy about the presentation, mind, but, I have to say, if I were ever lucky enough to be invited to an Ethiopian home for dinner, this is just what I’d be hoping for: a hearty, tasty, home-cooked meal that’s not swimming in grease. (Oil-slick covered food is one of my pet hates). I should also add that the prices were very reasonable.
The restaurant is called Habesha, click here to access their website, if you want to check it out.