05 November, 2011

Say WATT?!

On a whim last night I decided it was time to go out for dinner somewhere.  In retrospect, I can't tell you where this decision really came from.  But since I was picking up my Mister from work I figured we'd hit somewhere downtown.  I wanted to try something I had never had before, that was going to be difficult.  I scanned through my "to eat list" and stopped when I hit the "African" category.  I've never been to Africa...  Why not?

We weren't too far from Horn of Africa and it was only 4:15.  With downtown traffic I figured we'd roll in just before the dinner hour began when things get too busy for me to take pictures and then I'd really have time to read the menu.  We weren't even out of the car for 2 minutes and the Sprout was "acting up".  I knew dinner was going to be a crime scene...  *sigh*

I didn't want to fumble around too long looking at the menu because our son was ALREADY getting testy.  I asked our hostess what she would recommend to someone that has never tried Ethiopian food before.  She recommended the Abesynian Platter, which was the first thing that caught my eye when I opened the menu anyhow.  You could order it for yourself, two people and even three or more.  It is little taste of all the best beef, lamb, vegetarian and chicken dishes they have to offer at the Horn.  My Mister attempted to order some tibbs but the first time he asked for them she didn't seem to understand what he wanted.  She responded to his order with comments about the water being in a glass.  We just looked at each other and shrugged.  I had no idea how large or small our platter would end up being.  The next time she came to the table my Mister asked for the tibbs again.  She understood him this time.

Table for Two

Dining Area

 Just a couple of minutes later the HUGE platter of food we ordered first was on the table.

 Abesynian Platter
 I will apologize right away for the picture...note the empty space on the injera.  I ate one of the eggs before I remembered to take a picture of the food.  So, for future reference there are two chicken legs and two boiled eggs when the platter comes out.  Moving right along...  I found myself chuckling out loud for a second because I forgot where we were.  My brain looked for a fork, but when you eat Ethiopian you eat with your fingers.  *facepalm*  So we dug in, literally.  I tore off a piece of injera (a basic Ethiopian flat bread made out of fermented teff flour) and grabbed some of the lamb watt (stew), squeezed it between my fingers and deposited it in my gob.  My mouth exploded with flavor!  I greedily ripped off another piece of injera and tried some of the beef watt...  Goodness gracious...  Everything on the platter was great!!  The injera was SO spongy...I loved how the flavors got sucked into all the nooks and crannies; even if you didn't pinch some watt into it, there was a TON of flavor from the juices it soaked up.  The chicken legs were moist and flavorful; I took turns dipping my boiled egg into each mound on the platter...the pea watt, the beef watt, the lamb watt...  It was awesome no matter what I decided to dredge it in.  The yatkilt watt was wonderful as well.  The potatoes and carrots were so soft and just mildly seasoned.  I was so overwhelmed at how MUCH I loved this food.

As enjoyable as the food was, we had to pack it in early.  We asked for the tibbs to be packaged to go while my Mister took the Sprout outside to scream in the peace and quiet of Rideau Street.  From the second our platter order went in to the minute my Mister finally took him outside he was crying...nearly uncontrollably most of the time.  I felt SO bad for all the other patrons.  I'm sure that wasn't what they envisioned happening during their dinner hour when they went out last night.  I apologized a 2 or 3 times to our hostess before I paid the bill and left a tip...a large tip.  She said it was perfectly alright.  She must be a mom...

I have to say, this is some of the best food I've EVER had.  I am in love with Thai and Indian already....I had NO idea how flavorful and spicy Ethiopian food could be when it is cooked correctly.  I would go back to Horn of Africa every week if I knew my Sprout wouldn't turn people into homicidal maniacs.  Perhaps once he's closer to age 3...  Either way our whole bill came to less than 30 loonies and we had TONS of food from the platter to take home besides the order of tibbs that was put in a "to go" container straight away.  Our family of 3 could EASILY eat another meal without having to make a side to fill everyone.  I felt like I was in my Grandma's house eating dinner and I like that.  It went a long way to dinner being semi enjoyable despite the never ending screaming.  I encourage you to give Horn of Africa a try.  Let me know how you like it!  

The Horn of Africa on Urbanspoon


  1. Great review, looking forward to trying this place. Have to ask, what are tibbs? I googled it, looked in the dictionary, nothing.

  2. Well...I spelled "tibbs" how they had it on their menu, so that was the first problem with you finding it. "Watt" and "tibbs" are actually spelled "wat" and "tibs" by most Ethiopians. But, because I was writing it down and taking notes from their menu, I wrote it as I saw it. But there are some great websites that can tell you a lot about their food. http://www.ethiopianrestaurant.com/dishes/tibs.html is one that has recipes and can help you know what to expect and give you an idea of what they offer that you might actually fall in love with. I hope you DO go and try them out. It was great food! =) Thanks for stopping by the Foodnatic...tell all your friends. I LOVE suggestions of places to try!!