Location: 4 Irwin Avenue, Toronto
See, this is one of the big reasons I started this blog: I have zero experience with Ethiopian cuisine. And who knows when I would have tried it otherwise — the inspiration for this particular excursion was entirely blog-related.
The moral of this story? If you want to try new things, start a blog. (and ignore the fact that you could easily try new things without the hassle and work of maintaining a food blog — where’s the fun in that??)
My dining companion and I shared both the meat and vegetarian Bayaaynatu, which the menu translates as “of each kind,” and is essentially a sampler plate. It all came on one enormous platter bearing a kaleidoscopic assortment of tastes and textures. I’m not even going to try to describe them all, but I will say that there wasn’t a weak selection in the bunch. I was particularly impressed by the diversity of flavours here; I sort of figured that everything would taste similar, but with few exceptions, each selection in the assortment had a personality of its own.
I really enjoyed it, though the meat in the dish at the top of the header photo was a bit tough, and the whole spread felt like it could have used more spice (hot sauce was provided, however).
There’s no classy way to eat this. There’s no cutlery to be seen; you just tear off a piece of injera — a wheaty Ethiopian flatbread that’s kind of like a thin, spongy pancake — and start scooping. The whole thing is served on a piece of that same bread, so eventually you’ll start tearing pieces off and eating that too. Only one napkin was provided (though I’m sure I could have — and should have — asked for more), and without getting into too much detail, I’ll say that by the end of the meal that napkin had seen better days.
It’s also an intimidating amount of food. My dining companion and I were defeated by the enormous spread, and neither of us are exactly dainty eaters. Still, we did our best; when the food is this good, how could you not?