This little gem of the Maboneng precinct should not be passed by. Little Addis Cafe with it’s large portrait of the Ethiopian leader, Haile Selassie watching over this quaint and cosy restaurant – the friendly owner,Kassa, of the 36 seated restaurant came to South Africa from Ethiopia in 2002. Over the years he has worked at various Ethiopian restaurants located in Johannesburg where he could learn more about the industry.In January 2011 he received an invitation to have a stall at the weekly Market on Main, in 2012 he open the restaurant that is located on Fox street right in the middle of the Maboneng hub. With some seating on the sidewalk you can enjoy the vibe of the precinct and the rays of sun as they peak though the trees.

Kassa cooks many of the dishes taught to him by his mother as a young boy. I had one of his famous meat and veggie combo injera platters. The injera ( sourdough pancakes ) is made of 95% rice flour and 5% cake flour. Teff as it is known in Ethiopia is originally made with grain however it is impossible to get all the required ingredients in South Africa. The platter is more than enough for two people, it consists of the injera as the base with the following placed on top, lamb and veggies mixed with tumeric, beef, lentils,potatoes and carrots, spinach, beetroot, pumpkin and two pieces of chicken. The pumpkin and chicken are cooked in a spice from Ethiopia, it consists of paprika and 17 types of spices. You tear up the injera and scoop food using your hands, no cutlery is needed so licking your fingers will not be considered rude here as you try and get the final flavours into you mouth after soaking up the various sauces into the injera.

During the meal as an alcoholic beverage I would highly recommend the Tej ( honey wine ) served in a glass bottle that has come from Ethiopia , it is angled on the one side making it easier to drink and underneath you will see the sign of a cross showing this is an original bottle. This wine is not at all strong and leaves a lingering aftertaste. Prepared locally from honey one can still see it fermenting in the bottle.

If you don’t want the alcohol you can have either the fragrant Ethiopian tea made with mixed spices or the Ethiopian coffee. Served in a Jebana, which is made from clay, Kassa explained to us how the 80 tribes in Ethiopia each have their own design for the Jebana. The coffee is brewed in the Jebana on a hot fire and you then pour it holding it rather high above the small beautiful cups in order to create a foam. No milk is served and you can add sugar, however as Ethiopia is the worlds centre for coffee origin we can take it from the masters that this coffee requires no extras and drinking it black is the best.

What I found most interesting was when Kassa explained that in different parts of Ethiopian the tribes drink coffee differently. Some add sugar, others no sugar, some add salt and the most unique are the ones that add purified butter. Popcorn is served with your coffee, this is because coffee is considered the dessert after a meal and snacking on the popcorn while socialising is a good way to end off a meal. Wherever you drink coffee you can expect to receive a bowl of popcorn.

This was an afternoon well spent, from the staff who are friendly and dressed in traditional clothes to Kassa who sat down and shared his wealth knowledge about food and his country, I left knowing that first I would be back to try more on the menu and secondly I would be planning a trip to Ethiopia soon. So if you want to experience the energy of Mabanoneg on a Sunday afternoon and have some street eating with fast, friendly service and affordable prices then this is the place to go.

Hours: Tuesday to Sunday 12h00 to 221h00
Contact : 082 683 8675
Address: 280 Fox street Johannesburg