Habesha is a new Ethiopian restaurant, just off the corner of Ellice Avenue, and Sherbrook Street. Like Bahn Ngon, Habesha restaurant is trying to get off the ground during the middle of the Covid pandemic. When compared to Vietnamese restaurants, Ethiopian restaurants are not as common in my neighbourhood. I only have around half a dozen within six blocks of where I live.
Habesha for Takeout
I walk down Ellice quite frequently and noticed that there was work being done to create a new restaurant. It was several weeks before I learned that it was an Ethiopian restaurant called Habesha. Previously the spot had been occupied by a place called Giant Eatery. I never visited it under that name and ownership.
Stepping into the restaurant for the first time, I noticed, that although there is space for a couple of dozen people, the tables had been set out in such a way to hold about a dozen at max. They provide masks and sanitizer at a small table just inside the door.
There are a couple of menus sitting on one of the tables. I picked up one of those and decided I would get an order to go. One item on the menu that caught my eye was a Kitfo roll up. I really enjoy this dish. Usually served in platter form, the roll up worked out really well.
I also added two vegetarian samosas to my order. I like the Ethiopian samosas as the pastry is more reminiscent of phyllo pastry, rather than the doughier versions you would typically find in Indian restaurants. Having said that, I like both style of samosas. These ones are well stuffed, while being well but not overly seasoned.
Dine in Experience
During this current pandemic I have not been doing a lot of dining in. I do not worry as much as some people, because when I dine, I dine alone. So, as long as the restaurant is not to full, I feel quite safe.
Going into Habesha for a dine in experience, the restaurant is not all that full. However, it is really interesting to watch how a restaurant handles things when people keep coming to the door. While I am dining several arrive at the restaurant.
Two things stood out. First, the few tables that are in the restaurant are shuffled around to provide as much space as possible between diners. Second, people are being turned away to make sure the restaurant is not over full. The people being turned away are told to return an hour later, meaning that anyone dining will not be rushed in their dining experience.
I only ordered one dish this time. It was a spicy beef stew dish with green peppers and onions. This dish was served with the injera on the side. My experience has been the main dish served on a large piece of injera, with a couple of bits of injera rolled up next to it. The stew delivers quite well on the heat, which I really like.
This I really liked. If there is one aspect of Ethiopian food that I am not really keen on, it is the fact that the injera tends to get mushy by the time the meal is finished. This time around that was not the case.
The staff is really friendly. They explain the menu well. Ethiopian food is not fast food, however my meal came in good, but unhurried time. I can not wait until this place is able to open for full occupancy.
One item I did not order, is the Ethiopian coffee. However I will be back to enjoy the experience. Habesha is a new restaurant that definitely deserves your patronage.