There’s a few international cuisines on my foodie bucket list and Ethiopian food has ranked in the top five for a while now. So when Papa Shep suggested going out for dinner in Camden one night last week, I did a little research and found great things about Queen of Sheba, an authentic Ethiopian restaurant in nearby Kentish Town.
The family owned spot has received rave reviews for its traditional food and large selection of vegetarian dishes, perfect for Papa who is a veggie.
Walking through the door, there was a lovely warm atmosphere from the few relaxed diners around us and the exceptionally smiley staff. The restaurant itself is tiny, so I’d recommend booking for a weekend night but for an early Thursday evening we had no problem getting a table.
Covering the walls are Ethiopian trinkets, art and sculptures, each adding to the laid back, authentic atmosphere.
Taking out seats we were welcomed with a huge smile from our waiter, who helped us pick our dishes and explained how the authentic dishes were served.
Traditional Ethiopian cuisine is served on injera, a spongy pancake/bread with a sour, lemony tang. Each person’s dish is spooned onto their side of the flat injera. It is tradition to start from your side, tearing pieces off as you make your way into the middle… you might be sharing a plate but it doesn’t mean you can steal each others food!
Dad opted for a trio of veggie dishes that he equally enjoyed scooping up…
Gomen – fresh spinach sautéed with onion, garlic, ginger and jalapeño. I wasn’t as keen on this dish as I felt it had a strange after taste but Dad really enjoyed it.
Kik Alich’a We’t – split yellow peas with turmeric, ginger and green chilli – this was super tasty, rich and slightly spicy.
Ingudai T’ibs – Button mushrooms sautéed with a blend of mild spices. I loved this dish, mixed with peppers and onions, the mushrooms were so flavoursome.
I chose a lamb curry, the Yebeg Alich’a We’t, a buttery sauce of turmeric, garlic, ginger and onion. This was so delicious and I made sure to polish off every last bit!
We then shared a huge portion of Denich T’ibs, fried spicy potato cubes that were super scrummy.
I actually really enjoyed eating with my hands! The injera is a strange concept. The texture is quite pleasant and serves well as a scooper for the curries. I just couldn’t get my taste buds around the sour citrus flavour! However Dad really loved the taste and the rich flavours of the dishes overpowered the lemon.
Feeling very full, we caught the scent of aromatic coffee and looked around to see the family owners (with their adorable baby boy) having traditional Ethiopian coffee. Being as warm and friendly as before, they encouraged me to take pictures of the ceremonious coffee and the wall hangings around them.
Overall I really enjoyed my first experience of Ethiopian cuisine. The lovely staff and atmospheric venue combine to make you feel completely at home, a perfect compliment to the authentic, aromatic flavours.
Have you ever had Ethiopian cuisine?