30 May 2011

Abyssinia Exotic Ethiopian Restaurant: Updated

In my quest to eat my way through all of the Ethiopian restaurants in Nairobi I revisited Abyssinia. A former work colleague was in town for a couple of nights so I introduced him to the deliciousness, because while in Kenya why not gorge yourself on Ethiopian food?

Location: Brookside Grove behind Safaricom House in Westlands
Price: Beers 200 KSH ($2.50), Around 300-600 KSH per dish ($3.75-$7.50)
Atmosphere: There is a large outdoor patio as well as private rooms around the perimeter of the parking lot. It's surrounded by trees and set up in an old house like most Ethiopian restaurants in the area. It has always been quiet and a relaxing atmosphere to enjoy a leisurely dinner.

Ethiopian food is an acquired taste and many don't like the sourness of the injera, the base of all dishes. I have yet to visit Ethiopia, but I understand that the njera there is made out of different ingredients that are unavailable in other countries. So fear not, if you don't like injera in Nairobi, don't write it off yet, you may very well love it while in Addis. I tried cooked kitfo for the first time here and, while I adore raw kitfo (think steak tartare but infused with garlic and herbs) and the spicy dipping powder, I am not a fan of what turned out to taste like plain cooked hamburger meat; it was bland and blah. However, I'm not one to overrule picky eaters fearful of stomach bugs (but, I will point out that I have not once gotten sick from eating raw kitfo) and will just stick to other delicacies including doro wot, alicha wot, and tibs. The coffee service however, similar to those at other restaurants around town, is tasty and definitely an experience if you've never tried Ethiopian coffee.

UPDATED: Abyssinia now has a second location in Kilimani off the Ring Road extension between Argwings Kodhek (Yaya corner) and Lenana. It's less picturesque than the Westlands location, but is still my preferred Ethiopian restaurant in Nairobi. 

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