African Food in Cape Town
by 021 Magazine...
African food is as diverse as the continent’s history and imagination . In a city often described as “not very African”, Bernard Franz goes on a quest to sample Cape Town’s African flavours.
More than finger food.
Once you step into Addis in Cape it is difficult to think of food alone. The building with its small staircase cutting a vertical labyrinth through three storeys, bypassing airy rooms and leading to cosy corners, is too unusual simply to sit, order and eat. I recommend you take a tour of the premises first. It is decorated with Ethiopian art by owner Senait Mekonnen herself, and the ceilings boast ceremonial church umbrellas in rainbow colours. A wall is inscribed with letters from a 220-character-strong alphabet.
Photographs and traditional paintings depict scenes from the Bible, which according to Ethiopian tradition, is firmly rooted in the Ethiopian Highlands. On the third floor, a coffee ceremony is performed, which includes mortar pounding, bean boiling, incense blowing and popcorn munching. Next, it’s time to assess the eating arrangements. First seat yourselves in wooden chairs assembled in a circle. Then wash your hands with the warm water provided. Finally, your waiter delivers bowls of food that he places on a large injera, a crepe made from rice flour and a local Ethiopian grain. After explaining what you ordered (doro wot?), he pours the saucy liquid from the bowls onto the injera. Wow. Oh, I forgot to tell you that there is no cutlery in sight. No problem. Another basket is provided with injera pieces cut into slices, which you use to transport the chick-peas, lamb, beef or chicken into your mouth.
The taste is simply fantastic. Rich, not too spicy, fresh, exciting. After the meal try coffee from Ethiopia. Having gone through a lengthy process of preparation, the Ethiopian version has a slight taste of sweet molasses. I could rave about the food, but what I appreciate most is that Addis in Cape manages to be different. While many restaurants hover fearfullly between slightly traditional or slightly contemporary, Addis in Cape succeeds in allowing an adventurous experience.
Open Monday to Saturday for lunch and dinner, 41 Church Street, 021 424 5722
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