Okay everyone, put down your forks. This is food you eat with your hands!
My boss offered to treat me to lunch a few weeks ago and suggested Ethiopian food. He said he knew of a great place downtown that had a pretty kick ass lunch special. I’d never tried Ethiopian food before, but I’m always up for trying something new – and lets be honest, free lunch? YEAH!
Initially, he ordered the meat combo lunch special but in a miscommunication, we ended up with vegetarian option instead. It really wasn’t a big deal to us and plus, we were too hungry to turn back and order again anyway. I’m actually really glad we ended up with the vegetarian combo. I love variety when eating a meal. I prefer to have at least three different things on my plate that I can nibble from, varying in texture, spice and flavour. The vegetarian option allows you to taste the many delicious flavours Ethiopian food has to offer.
The lunch combos come served on whats called Injera, a raw, flat sourdough bread made from whole grain products. It’s light and airy and soaks up the sauces perfectly. The vegetarian comes packed with collard greens sauteed with red onions, cabbage with carrots and potatoes, lentils with garlic, ginger and onion sauce, yellow split peas, a lentil stew and beets to finish it off. It’s a beautiful medley of flavours all wrapped up together. The beets and garlic offer a tangy bite and the rich nutty flavour of the lentils is wonderfully paired. The varying textures in this dish provide you with an exciting dining experience. The chilled beets are refreshing while the collard greens and cabbage provide a satisfying, juicy crunch. The warmth and creaminess of the lentils bring a welcome substance to the meal. Overall, this combo will make any vegetarian smile!
I’ve had the vegetarian option many times before, so I decided to change it up and try the meat combo for lunch today. As expected I was very satisfied with my choice. The meat combo comes with two meat selections, typically a chicken thigh and cuts of lamb and two vegetable sides. Although, I believe this can change based on what they have available that day. The meat comes served in a beautiful red pepper stew that is mildly spicy and full of flavour. The chicken thigh was a fair size and the meat itself was tender and falling off the bone. My only word of warning when ordering the meat combo is the amount of bones you will find floating freely in the sauce from the lamb. I do appreciate the fact that the meat is literally still on the bones and the flavour that adds, but it can prove difficult that with every other bite, you chomp down on a hard piece and have to spit it out. I’d recommend removing as many bones as possible before you eat.
Out of the two I’d have to recommend the vegetarian combo. It’s perfect for lunch as it’s not too filling and has a nice variety. However, if you’re a real meat lover don’t hesitate on getting the meat combo – it’s just as satisfying. For under $10 – these lunch combos will have you coming back.
On my next visit, I plan on eating in for dinner to experience their popular Ethiopian coffee ceremony and other dinner selections.
WASS Ethiopian Restaurant is located at 207 James Street South in Hamilton.