East Africa – Ethiopian in NDG

I follow Chowhounds Montreal board pretty closely, and there was a lot of buzz about East Africa, a new-ish restaurant that opened up on Sherbrooke in NDG.  I’ve always wanted to try Ethiopian food, and was excited about finally heading out there one night with some gals for a well needed catch up.

East Africa

First off, the place is pretty… austere.  From the outside it looks a bit… whatever… but the sign with words scrolling past in Amharic was a good sign.

Inside

inside 2

 

Inside is extremely basic as well.  There are only a few tables, and not much adorning the walls.  Overall, the theme is very…. red… But the place was busy and I was glad we had reserved.  Although not very well advertised, it’s a BYOW place, and if you don’t have a bottle there’s an SAQ nearby on Sherbooke and Hingston.

East Africa

So what exactly is Ethiopian food?  Well as far as I can tell, it’s a bunch of curries, and stews that are eaten with a spongy bread called injera.  The meal is served in one large dish, which makes sharing easy.  We went with #3 – Ye Doro Fitfit – a drumstick with a nice stew, #19 Ye Missir Alicha – lentils with onions, garlic, turmeric and other spices, #21 – ye Gommen Wott – Spinach, and I believe number #17 – Ye Kik Alicha – yellow split peas.  We also were given beets (who knew beets were Ethiopian?!), and a little bit of other bits and bobs.  By far the best was the chicken dish, and I think we could have ordered two of those.  I also liked the lentils and the yellow split peas which were hearty.  The spinach I wasn’t too fussed about, but it was OK.  The injera was nice – I read people complaining that it’s not great (in general) but it’s just spongy bread – nothing too offensive.  I have absolutely no comparison for this Ethiopian food though, so I am purely going by taste buds.

One of the gals I was there with has spent some time in East Africa, and confirmed that this was a fairly authentic experience, in terms of…. the service.  Service was slow, and non-existant at the end of the meal.  I had to go up to our waitress, who was cheerily talking with the chef, in order to get our bill, and pay.  But the bill…  $43 for three of us.  Wow, you don’t get much cheaper than that.

Overall, I would definitely go back.  I’d have the chicken dish again, and try a few more of the meat dishes.  I’d also have the yellow split peas again I think.  The experience was cool – I mean it’s not everyday you have Ethiopian (unless you are perhaps in Ethiopia…) and the price was right.  The light reflecting off the red walls gave everything a red glow, and it was pretty much a hole in the wall but, hey, it just adds to the experience.

They are pretty busy, so I’d reserve.  You can also order from them on Just-Eat.ca.  Go check it out, and let me know what you think!

Decor: Very basic.

Service: Slow.  Our food wasn’t that slow to come out, but at the end of the night the service basically disappeared.

Price: Very very affordable.

Food: Very interesting, and pretty good.  I’d definitely go back to explore the rest of the menu.

Good For: Wanting to try something new!  They have high chairs and are open for lunch on the weekend.  I wouldn’t hesitate to bring baby for lunch, although the space is a bit tight.

 

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