Before moving to London, all I knew about Ethiopia was pretty much nothing, besides the fact that one of the language spoken in their country is Amharic and that Ethiopian really love their land (based on a story I was taught back in 5th grade….). Little did I know, their food is really delicious and their honey wine is really something else!!!
Last summer, I had my first Ethiopian bites at Hamer on Goldhawk Road. Later on, I have tried other restaurants near by which were also good, but Hamer still remains the best in my opinion. (Side note: Hamer Restaurant closed for a couple months after a water main burst on our road earlier this year, but they have just reopened again lately – Yayy!).
Eating Ethiopian food is truly an interesting experience for me since we have to use our hands and I am still learning how to master this skill (please don’t judge me, i grew up eating every-single-thing by chopsticks!). All the food is put on top of a large injera on a metal plate and served with rolled injera on the side, along with a spicy sauce that tastes like a mild liquid wasabi (I should have asked for the name… my bad!). The injera aka sourdough flatbread is a soft and sour (obviously!) bread, which for me – at the very first glance – looked like an American pancake in a bánh xèo size (I would have said Crepes, but Bánh Xèo would be more accurate!). You tear a piece of injera, then pick up a piece of food on the plate, and just enjoy. And guess what, not only the meat, but the vegetarian dishes are also very good, too good that a meat lover like me can just eat it everyday!
Here are some of my favourite dishes:
Cubes of meat (I normally get beef, but you can get lamb too!) cooked in Ethiopian butter, onions, peppers and spices. For me, as a non-Ethiopian, I would rename it as “Ethiopian dish for beginner”. These little dried cubes are well marinated, mouth-watering and easy-to-pick-up-by-hand-in-one-go.
2. Habesha Salad
This is a simple salad made of diced tomatoes, onions and jalapeño. Habesha will be your new favourite summer salad. Tangy, crunchy, and refreshing – but watch out for the spicy jalapeño, it can make your eyes watering in second! Plus, you need a better eating-by-hand skill (than mine) to actually enjoy this dish. Or another option: ask for a spoon!
3. Vegetarian Platter
The vegetarian platter (or the Yetsom Beyaynetu – if I remember it right) is a combination os several vegetarian dishes. You can see on my photo below it looks pretty colourful. Most can be picked up easily, except for the lentils and split pea. From right to left, counterclockwise:
- Miser Wat (Spiced red lentils)
- Kik Alicha (Split pea stew)
- Gomen (Sautéed Spinach – but Google told me that there is another veggie for this which is called Collard Green)
- Karat Alicha (Potatoes and Carrot Stew)
- Fasolia (Sautéed String beans and Carrot)
4. Beef Ribs
CBS has amazing race, Hamer has AMAZING RIBS! Also cooked with pepper and onion (a bit like dereq tibs), but these ribs are out of this world. I have replaced the Korean ribs with these Ethiopian ribs in my own ribs ranking! Pieces of meat hang on the bones like grapes, you can just easily tear them out by hand or use the knife to cut them all in one go. This baby is crunchy, full of flavour, melt in your mouth and makes you want more!
As much as I enjoy the food, I do feel guilty sometimes because I could never get the name of the dishes right. I normally end up asking for the dish number, or describe it for the waiter and hope for the best bet! Anyway, you should come try Hamer‘s food at 92 Goldhawk Rd, Shepherd’s Bush, London W12 8HD. The food is totally delicious, the experience is unique, laid back atmosphere with a nice balcony in the back, friendly staff and reasonable price. I would totally recommend this!!!
P/S: This is not an advertisement for Hamer, I am just an Asian neighbour who loves to eat at Hamer whenever I have a chance to! hahahaha 😝