Pune is home to a lot of international cuisine restaurants including Chinese, Oriental, Thai, Pan Asian, Brazilian, Mediterranean, European amongst others . And the latest addition is Abyssinian –the Ethiopian Cuisine Restaurant at Koregaon Park. The restaurant is in the same premises of the established fine dining South Indian Restaurant Savya Rasa.
Creating strong bonds with family and friends is one of the most important features of Ethiopian traditions which gave rise to communal platter which means families eat together. The platter is lined with Ethiopian sour flat bread called Injera and topped with Ethiopian delicacies including vegetables and meat. And then the Injera is made from a special grain which grows in the highlands of Ethiopia, but since it is difficult to get it here, the Injera in Abyssinian Restaurant in Pune is available in the form of Ragi Dosa. Now one has two options to choose from either veg or non veg and three types of combinations viz Abol, Tona and Baraka. It is a set menu with fixed pricing. We went for the veg option in Abol which had one starter and injera topped with three vegetables, a sweet dumpling and an unfiltered coffee. The other options had more food items.
Carrots, Beans, Potato form important part of vegetable preparations which was evident and a superb onion stew in two of the preparations was amazing. For those who like it spicy. Misir Wot, an Ethiopian-style lentil stew that is made by cooking red lentils in clarified butter, aromatics, and season it with an Ethiopian spice blend called Berbere. The entire spread is in a beautiful big household utensil just like a big thali. The starter was in the form of a wheat flour dumpling called Mandassi served with mint chutney. Salad was interesting with cherry tomatoes, carrots, capsicum and other ingredients. The meal was followed by a really strong unfiltered coffee. Ethiopian Coffee is considered one of the finest and has a long standing tradition. But for those Indians who are used to having normal coffee with milk will find this little strong and sour and so they give salt and flavoured butter to balance the taste. We were served popcorns to neutralize the sour taste after the meal.
The ambience is good and there is no doubt that a lot of hard work seems to have been put in to get artifacts, upholstery, sitting chairs, utensils and other items to give an Ethiopian feel. There are two types of sitting here, one normal and other is traditional which consists of a beautifully woven basket table and low sittings of the same material to get a feel of how Ethiopians have their meal. The colors are in sync with those of Ethiopian flag.
One of the most challenging jobs in such new restaurants is of the staff members who need to explain the customers everything on offer. And I must compliment the way the staff member attending us talked the way through our entire meal. Pricing is on a little higher side considering the fact that this is a fine dining restaurant. The lowest option comes at Rs 799 +taxes per person. The cuisine resembles with that of southern part of India but the taste is distinct. Overall an excellent option for those who want to experience new cuisines. Once you go there, it won’t be the last visit for sure!