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Sunday, May 23, 2010

Ethiopia Café

I'm sorry, readers, but I cannot tell a lie. In fact I must confess to writing this first “official” restaurant review of 'Knedliky Etc' feeling rather shame-faced on several fronts today.

Firstly, I ended up at my intended restaurant of review Ethiopia Café accidentally drinking three of these (rýzlink at 72kč per glass) rather than just the intended one - oops...

I wouldn’t like to say this impaired my judgement in any way, but then (moving on to secondary cause of embarrassment) I don’t think it’s entirely unrelated that I ended up easily demolishing literally all of this either:

when on all previous visits I have been consistently defeated by the sheer vastness of the Beyenetu Addis Ethiopian platter (consisting of five Ethiopian meat and vegetable samplers, served on crepe-like injera bread), at 195kč a throw. And what makes it worse is that I didn't even feel overly full afterwards either...

Thirdly, I must confess that I have literally no idea if what I so ravenously put away tonight was in any way authentic Ethiopian or not, having chickened out of my intended Cairo to Cape Town overland trip back in 2006 due to the ongoing Sudanese conflict, bypassing the Sudan and with it unfortunately also Ethiopia as well to instead travel the safer, more beaten backpacker track from Kenya to the Cape instead.

And fourthly and finally, I am literally kicking myself for having missed out on one of the undoubtedly interesting special African nights held occasionally at the Ethiopia Café by a matter of just two days. As much as I like my usual Beyenetu Addis platter, I’d also have loved to have sampled the likes of ‘Cameroonian chicken in a sauce of exotic spices and served with peanut butter, manioc, sweet potatoes and manioc leaves pond’ or ‘malamba mushrooms with mashed beans and fufu’ (as described on the website), but from now on will definitely try and stay abreast of the Ethiopia’s special nights and be sure to head on down / report back in future.

So much for regrets in this case then, but for now back to the all-important subject of the food itself, which in this case consisted of Ethiopian Key Wot (beef stew cooked in Berbere sauce), Doro Wat (chicken slow cooked in Berbere sauce and served with hard-boiled egg and cottage cheese), Ater Keke Wot (split pea dhal), Messer Wot (red lentil sauce), and Atkilt Alicha (vegetable curry). The sheer fact that I a) ate the whole bloody thing and b) was already a repeat customer pre-blog clearly indicates that I have no complaints as regards quality of the food, but must say that I have always much preferred the two tasty meat curries to the three comparatively bland vegetable dishes. But then again when it comes to Ethiopia, like I say, not having ever actually been there in person, I can't honestly claim to know my arse from my elbow in any culinary respect here.

As for the restaurant itself, on this occasion for the first time weather permitted me to sit outside (though did manage to grab a quickie photo of the interior for the sake of review as well).

One other point in favour of the Ethiopia Café is that 50% of its staff is made up of people who have physical or learning difficulties of some kind, which in my experience means a little patience and Czech might occasionally be required when ordering / paying etc. While I am fully behind any project of this kind, however, one aspect of their service I'm not entirely comfortable with is that staff are required to bring out a basin and jug in order to wash the customer's hands for them prior to eating. It’s not that I don’t appreciate the gesture, but quite frankly I simply dislike to ever be put in such an embarrassing position of unwarranted superiority in relation to anybody, waiter/ess or not, and it’s not like the restaurant lacks bathroom facilities for this purpose (in which I am – after 28 years on this earth – quite self-sufficient by now) anyway.

But all in all, I would still say that Ethiopia Café is definitely one of the more unique places in Prague in terms of both creed and cuisine, and somewhere I will definitely be heading back to on their next African night and beyond...


  1. I had *no idea* that anywhere did African food here in Prague! There are some fabulous Ethiopian restaurants near Kings Cross where they bring out your food on a giant pancake and you use it to eat with instead of cutlery by rolling the meat etc up in it. Brilliant.

    Will definitely czech this place out (hur, hur...)


  2. I've been there and had a vegetarian menu. I liked it, but I thought they could use more spices. But since I visit that area regularly, I'll try this place one more time. As for the hand washing, I find it very usefull.