The authentic Ethiopian restaurant now at The Junction
No cutlery here, all good to just get stuck into it with your handsSee our handpicked guides to Newcastle
BY ALICIA POOLE
Habesha Ethiopian lovers may have been wondering why the King Street restaurant’s door has been closed these past few weeks. Well, we can put your concerns at ease by letting you know that they’ve moved just around the corner to a much larger premises at The Junction.
Replicating everything they built at their King Street restaurant, the new space boasts a much roomier interior and an even larger menu. That means there are more food options to choose from!
So, if you’ve got a hankering for some truly authentic Ethiopian cuisine or looking to try something new, then Newcastle’s iconic Habesha Restaurant should be your next go-to destination.
Unfamiliar to most, Ethiopian cuisine is best described by owner and head chef Lidya Stapleton as being, “Different from anything you have ever had before.”
Much of the flavour comes from the variety of spices that are infused into each of the dishes, imported direct from Ethiopia, in many cases the spices take just as long to prepare as the meals themselves.
The move allowed the team to think about how they wanted to change things up, so they're excited to have officially launched their very first lunch service
with a dedicated lunch menu, as well as extending their hours by opening up at 11 am every day!
The restaurant's doors were quietly opened in early October, allowing both visitors and locals alike to share all of the love upon checking out the new digs.
“Our loyal customers have helped us outgrow our original premises and our loyal and friendly staff have loved moving Habesha to our new premises.”
Another great addition to Habesha's new digs is the open kitchen. It's got to be a pretty special experience getting to see the chefs at works creating
your dishes. Oh and the best part? It's an all-female kitchen team; yeah the girls!
Whilst the food is an obvious reason to give Habesha’s a visit, it’s also equally as exciting just to experience dining the Ethiopian way. That is, to
eat all the dishes with your hands! For newcomers, it certainly is a little weird at first, but before long you’ll be having loads of fun with it!
To make all this eating with your hands a little easier, all dishes are served alongside injera; the staple food of the country. The flat, soft and spongy textured bread-like pieces have a somewhat tangy, sour taste that are perfect for soaking up the stewed flavours of the Wots; the traditional dish which is a mixture of vegetables, meats, spices, and sauces.
Each and every dining experience is kicked off with the traditional hand-washing ceremony that is customary in Ethiopia. With the hands being such a vital part of the eating process, time is taken to make sure everything is clean. Staff will come by your table with a stunning silver water jug, and basin, allowing you to get your eating utensils (your hands) sparkling clean!
We kicked off our dining experience by ordering two entrée dishes; Zucchini Flowers and Crispy King Prawns. The zucchini flowers are stuffed with house-made mild Ethiopian soft cheese and fresh herbs that fried until golden and crispy; a real crowd favourite.
For mains, we went to town ordering four different dishes; Miser Wot, Key Ser, Fiyel Wot, and Ye Beg Alicha. Our vegetarian dishes were Miser Wot, a dish with split red lentils cooks in a tomato, onion, ginger and garlic sauce, and Key Ser, a beetroot and potato dish with garlic, mild green chilies, and onion.
Our other two dishes were meat-based. Fiyel Wot consisted of braised local goat on the bone and Ye Beg Alicha; braised lamb on the bone that’s been simmered with turmeric, garlic, onion, fresh green chilies, ginger, carrots, and potatoes.
Have I got your taste buds tingling?
Well go and get your mates together and head to Habesha for a unique and authentic Ethiopian dining experience. Make sure to book ahead because these guys are mighty popular and are often booked out.