A colleague and I met halfway between both of our offices at Africa Restaurant the previous Wednesday for lunch. Last year, the establishment changed hands – Mebrat had been a community mainstay for many years, but the transition to Africa Restaurant seemed rather seamless, and I’d heard that the menu of Eritrean and Ethiopian dishes had been preserved. This was the first time at the restaurant for both of us.
We settled into one of the comfortable black booths just inside the doors. Natural light streamed in from the windows, making it a very pleasant place for lunch, especially on that cold winter day.
The menu featured the variety of meat and vegetarian dishes we expected, to be eaten with injera. But the random sandwiches and pastas didn’t seem to fit – I wondered if they were remnants of the previous menu that attempted to serve varied community tastes (similar to Pho Huong/Mama Pizza’s split menu of Vietnamese cuisine and pizza). We decided to try a meat and vegetarian combination ($24), which would give us the means to sample a large array of items.
The food arrived in expedient fashion, a colourful platter featuring lamb, chicken, beef, lentils and vegetables. All of the meat dishes were spicy, but they were nicely balanced by the green salad and beans.
The lentils are typically my favourite on such platters, and it was no different on this occasion – they were well-seasoned, creamy and were moderately spiced. The dorho tibsi was the most difficult to eat with the injera, the egg slipping between our inexperienced fingers, but was the most rewarding – creamy with a good kick. The lamb tibsi was probably the weakest link, lacking flavour, overcooked and chewy. Needless to say, with the deceivingly filling injera in our stomachs, we ended up with a large box of leftovers. With this buffet for two priced at just $12 a person, it was a fantastic value.
Service was perhaps a little too hands off, but I can understand how the server thought we wanted to be left alone to converse. In all though, Africa Restaurant is another restaurant I am fortunate to have within a stone’s throw of my office – definitely worth seeking out as an Ethiopian and Eritrean option in the city.
10603 107 Avenue