Yes, Ethiopian food. I think I made the same jokes before I tried it too. Many people haven’t had Ethiopian food, and to them I often describe it as plops of mushy stuff with spices, sort of like Indian food, served on a giant flat pancake shaped piece of sourdough spongy bread. Oh and by the way, you tear off pieces of the bread and scoop up the food with it to eat. No forks. So fun.
If you’ve never tried Ethiopian and you’re not a food prude, I’d highly recommend it. It’s one of my favorites and was a weekly endeavor when we lived in Australia. The food is delicious, the way you eat it is fun, and the whole thing is a different experience for us westerners.
I’ve been eating Ethiopian food only for about the last two years, and have in that time tried probably a dozen different places (mostly in Melbourne, Australia). In my experience, most Ethiopian restaurants are the same in a very odd way. And because Ghion fit the bill, I was both amused and impressed. The very best Ethiopian places are dead empty when you arrive. There is often no music playing, and no one in the facility, possibly not even a waiter. There may be a group of Ethiopian gentlemen speaking (assumingly) Ethiopian and not paying you a bit of mind. The dining area may be scantily decorated with an appropriately African theme.
When you receive the menus, it is likely that pages are missing from most of them. I could hardly believe that we found yet another Ethiopian place where this is the case, but we did. It’s ok though, you can assemble the information between the few of you who have arrived together to assist in understanding the full menu selection. The waiter/owner/cook is friendly but has a heavy accent. Sometimes there are language communication difficulties, but he is polite and courteous so it’s not uncomfortable.
It doesn’t really matter anyway, because whatever comes out of the kitchen will be good; no matter if you ordered it or not. Your only concern is to make sure you receive vegetarian food if you ordered that, and that part of the order never seems to get lost.
Up until this point, I have been describing Ghion and many other places I’ve been. I should now discuss the food at Ghion, which was excellent. The vegetarian combo we ordered (x2 to feed four people) was a standard combo that we’ve seen elsewhere also. The brown lintel mush, the yellow cabbage and potato pile, the green lintel stuff, the stuff that appeared to be spinach but may have been another green, and the yellow goo that I’m not sure what it was. De-lic-ious, even though I’m clearly not aware of the technical names or ingredients. We also ordered an appetizer of some sort of cheese, which was also placed on the big plate (white, crumbly), and boyfriend’s favorite dish of tomato-soup-consistency goo that was really, really good.
All of this with a generous side of wheat injera to scoop it with, and we were stuffed in no time. One of the other great things about Ethiopian food is that it’s typically pretty cheap. $42 covered all four of us including two beers, and we were certainly full to the brim. If you like Ethiopian, head down to Ghion to get your next fix, or, if you’ve never tried it, I’d say Ghion wouldn’t be a bad place to start.
Note: Wait a minute, Angie, aren’t you in Japan right now? How are you patronizing restaurants in the Bay when you’re far far away? Touche, fair reader, good catch. I did not come to Japan fully unprepared – I have a few drafts waiting in the wings of this blog so as not to drop the ball while I’m away! Haha! Would I starve you of food posts while I travel the globe? Surely not. Keep your eyes peeled, I will be posting again!