ETHIOPIAN cuisine might be not be very well known in Brighton - but a new restaurant hopes to change that with its nutritious and tasty food.
Abyssinia, which is due to open this weekend, will be the first Ethiopian restaurant in Brighton and aims to show the city a diet often hailed as one the healthiest in the world.
Based around injera, a spongy pancake-style carbohydrate staple, it is made from non-gluten grain teff, which is rich in iron, fibre, calcium, potassium and protein.
Served with virtually everything and used like a utensil to scoop up lentils, vegetables and meat, Abyssinia owners Yonas Kebede and Daisy Brook hope to attract adventurous Brightonians looking to try something new.
Based on Baker Street near London road, Abyssinia will also look to bring in students from the new block on the former Co-op store, as well as members of the city’s sizeable Ethiopian community.
Daisy said: “The healthiness of the food is a real selling point, with lots of fresh meat and vegetables.
“We want to make it affordable so that people can come back again and again and offer a much better alternative to KFC or McDonalds.”
The style of food is already popular in London and Washington DC.
Yonas said: “In London restaurants you can’t get a seat, people are queueing out of the door.
“They are full of white British people who have fallen in love with the food.
“Brighton people like to try out new things, so we hope it’s going to do really well.
“People are getting excited, everyone keeps asking about when we’re opening when they walk past.”
Injera is made like sourdough bread and left to naturally ferment for several days. Perfecting it so it is light and bubbly but holds together can take years of practice.
It is often served as a large sharing platter, with a variety of dishes on top such as spiced lentils, steamed vegetables and salad.
Meat specialities include doro wot (marinated chicken) and spicy stews of lamb or beef.
The food is also popular with Sudanese and Somalis, as well as Jamaican Rastafarians who worship Ethiopia’s late emperor Haile Selassie.
The restaurant will serve lunch through to dinner, with one traditional attraction based around Ethiopia’s greatest export – coffee.
Coffee drinking is thought to have originated in Ethiopia, and its roasting, grinding, brewing and drinking is a great ritual accompanied by incense and popcorn.
To try and make the food as authentic as possible Yonas returned to his place of birth to buy aromatic spices.
“We’re trying to do everything as traditionally as possible. We want it be really authentic”, Daisy added.