Feb. 13, 2007 - Issue #591: House Of Cats
Learn, lunch and linger over Ethiopian delights
But once those doors swing open, it takes any hungry guest across the world to Ethiopia itself—one of the few restaurants in this city capable of doing this. It defines both Ethiopian cuisine and Ethiopian culture.
As we made our way down to the end of the party section of the Whyte Avenue strip, we finally made it to the calm Langano Skies. We felt at ease the moment we arrived; though unfamiliar, the warm atmosphere was instantly inviting and relaxing.
We were greeted by the server and had a brief wait since we came just after the post-dinner rush. We were seated at our table in a spaciously open dining room.
We opened the menu, completely confused and feeling a little out of our element. The owners know that many Edmonton diners are unfamiliar with Ethiopian cuisine, so the menu tells a story rather than just telling us what was for dinner. Inserts in the menu not only educate about Ethiopian cuisine, but about the culture as well.
As we read, the only thing familiar to us was the page for those who were less adventurous: Western Fare. After our server saw the perplexed looks on our faces, she gladly helped teach us about Ethiopian cuisine. We finally decided on the chicken dishes of doro aletcha ($9.50) and doro tibs ($12.75), then lightened it up a bit with the vegetarian gomen wot ($8.50).
It was a longer wait than I was used to in a nearly empty restaurant, but it was well worth it. All three dishes arrived on one massive platter called a moseb, which was draped with a base of a spongy pancake-like sourdough crepe called ingera. We’re told that ingera serves as the base of every Ethiopian meal.
The shared platter and communal ingera probably wasn’t the best set up for a germaphobe, but thankfully for us it worked out quite well.
We dove into the gomen wot, a spinach and onion dish freshened with a hint of garlic and teamed up with lyeb (a homemade Ethiopian version of cottage cheese). We ripped off sections of ingera to use as our utensils. The creamy combination of the spinach and lyeb was fantastic and began to fill us up before we got a chance to try the rest of the dishes.
We began to pace ourselves so we could at least get a taste of the rest of our meals. We moved on to the doro tibs—a safe choice suggested by the server for those who are slightly terrified by the unknown. The doro tibs wasn’t spicy and presented a good substitute for stomachs that don’t always agree with spice.
However, the side salad wasn’t the best idea for a utensil-less meal. It was a nice flashback to childhood memories of eating utensil-free, but I could have used a fork.
We then indulged in the curry-based doro aletcha. Cooked with ginger and the Ethiopian spice nitir kibeh, the lighter dish was the perfect amount since we were nearly full up from sampling the others. By the end, we had a tower of take-out containers so high that it blocked our view of each other. We still felt the need to relax and enjoy some dessert.
Going for a more Canadian style, we went for the chocolate brownie ($5.50), but complemented it with an Ethiopian tea ($3), the house specialty. The delicious chocolate brownie was pretty standard, the typical dessert for most restaurants. However, the Ethiopian tea was the perfect way to end our meal. Similar to chai, it was made on site and we were given a generously sized pot for the price.
Not only was the dining experience at Langano Skies unique, it was relaxing and a full-fledged cultural immersion. The glory, the beauty and the flavours of Ethiopia are available just down Whyte. V
Mon - Thu & Sat to 10 pm,
Fri to 11 pm, Sun to 9 pm
9920 - 82 Avenue
More info about Langano Skies →
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