Abyssinia Cafe and Restaurant has been dishing up its award-winning traditional Ethiopian recipes since 2014, showcasing the cuisine’s abundance in flavour, and bringing an authentic taste of one of the major ancient spice trade routes from East Africa to Leeds.
Everything is made from scratch using fresh ingredients and no preservatives, and everything is served on injera, an Ethiopian sourdough flatbread made with teff flour that’s naturally gluten free and of a spongy consistency to mop up the sauce perfectly. Tear off the edges and eat inwards, using the bread as both plate and cutlery. A classic Abyssinian dish is doro wot (wots are juicy, spice-rich stews): this mildly hot national favourite sees tender chicken leg marinated in lemon, ginger, garlic, onion and nutmeg, then stewed in Ethiopian butter and berebere, and served with a boiled egg. Berebere is a powdered spice blend integral to Ethiopian (and also Eritrean) cooking, which uses chillies, garlic, fenugreek and a complex combination of warm spices from the region, including korarima, rue, ajwain and radhuni. Turmeric is also popular in the cuisine, and gives many of the sauteed and braised dishes a golden hue, while garlic, ginger, red or green chillies, onion and tomato tend to be the base flavours – see the lamb dishes lebleb tibs, lega tibis firfir and awaze tibs. Beef makes its way onto the menu in zilzil tibs (marinated, grilled then shredded and served with salad and injera) and kitfo (beef tartare, hand minced and seasoned with organic butter, served rare, lightly sautéed or cooked through and sprinkled with powdered red pepper), while the “vegetarian corner” includes the shiro tegameno spiced chickpea stew with injera and salad or the beyaynetu vegan platter. If you’re stuck, try the Abyssinia Special: a spread of around 15 meat and vegetarian dishes.