Friday, January 11, 2008

Habesha, Blue Nile, Horn of Africa.....Ethiopian

Blue Nile @ 577 (377?) Gladstone near Bronson and Horn of Africa on Rideau near the Rideau Center.

Had to try the Blue Nile since it is actually in the downtown area and on my way home in the evenings. I did have an Ethiopian friend with whom I tried Horn of Africa many years ago. If I remember vaguely the pancakes were a little sour, as in Habesha’s, but the pancakes at the Blue Nile were not. I must say, I prefer the non-sour ones better. The food at Blue Nile was a little spicier and the combination plate had many interesting chunky beef & veggie items that were quite curry like. The price however was a little more at Blue Nile. ($25pp vs. $20pp)

Other than that, I would say that Habesha had more Ethiopian customers than Blue Nile, so on the theory that the ‘locals’ would go to their favorites, Habesha is the better bet. Shame though, because the décor was much better at Blue Nile. I am not one for décor…. only the food. And since I can’t be considered an expert in Ethio food, I have to say the curries tasted better, based on an indo-sino palate, at Blue Nile.

Would I go back? Service was next to nil. Got my bill wrong. And the restaurant was empty. I don’t even remember the address anymore.

Habesha, Ethiopian @ 1087 Wellington.

After watching the ‘take home chef’ do a beef wellington, I was encouraged to visit what might be the food of kings and emperors before Christ. I sound like I am following the Desbrisay trail.... I must admit, I had noticed this restaurant before; replacing a Vietnamese restaurant that I thought was most creative with a real chef from New York. Alas, their prices were too high and this spot is now taken over by Habesha, opposite KFC as DesB has deemed to mention.

If you like injera, which is a sour pancake eaten as a bread or staple, then this could be a place for the adventurous and frugal. (Is this the same restaurant that DesB visited?)

The prices are great and I am waiting to go back to try the lamb tripe, and dry beef dishes.... And who am I to judge whether the pharaohs, Caesars, and Queens (Cleopatra) knew how to eat.

I would call them curries, rather than stews... curries without the 'curry' of India. There are various spices without salt and the yellow coloured species; but spices nevertheless.... More so than the Portuguese or the others who traded in spices....

I don't know if I sat in an unheated corner, but I am absolutely chilled after a lunch I had there on a very warm Jan day. Do I think the food has a cooling effect, definitely. And wine actually goes with Ethiopians... vis a vis Indian (East) food, which does not go with wine at all......

Cash only!...., but good value, if you like sour pancakes. $20 pp for a meal with a beer/wine. I will write more on the other more exotic dishes, which I am dying to try. To call them stews is indeed a sin. I only saw africans there....

Ciao. Ricardo.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Little India in Ottawa

Little India Cafe on Carling opposite Britannia.

As the common indian in Ottawa has stated, this is probably the best value for Indian food in Ottawa, if you are willing to go all the way out to the west end....

Dinner for two, $80, all in, no booze. That's about average for a meal in Ottawa, but this place is actually quite tasty. In line with the Haveli's, or benchmarks in Ottawa. Tandoori and nan, a little burnt, but I like the carcinogens. Beef with spinach... the spinach was excellent, cheese (paneer) with okra, they made that especially for us, was very nice. Pickles, yogurt (raita), rice, roti and that's how it adds up. All pretty ok... the main dishes were better.

The owners have changed, but the food is still pretty good. Par with all of the best indian restaurants in Ottawa..... like the chinese.... the best is a 2/5. It was obviously not outstanding, but I have yet to have an outstanding indian meal in Ottawa.