Cheap as chips: Ethio al Habasha

This is eating at its most elemental.

15th Street/Muroor Road,
Abu Dhabi.
This is eating at its most elemental. Like all Ethiopian food, the table is utensil-free and eating is done with wads of tangy injera bread. And there is no shortage of options for you to dab, scoop or shovel. After several lunchtime trips to the small storefront - "cosy" is a bit too kind, but the friendly, relaxed vibe and colourful furniture make up for the bedroom-sized dining area - a few favourites have emerged. The clear winner is alitcha menchet (Dh20), a slurry of lean ground beef and spices in gravy, which you can order "regular" or "spicy". Go for the spicy; it doesn't burn your tongue and provides a nice counterpart to the bread. As a bonus, it comes with a hard-boiled egg on top. The derak tibs (Dh25) - charbroiled beef - is spicier, but can occasionally be quite dry. Another tasty option is the kifto (Dh25), raw beef minced and marinated in chili powder, clarified butter and herbs. Misiria (Dh20) is, as far as we can tell, red lentils served in a similar spicy gravy. The Habasha Special (Dh35) is spicy and delicious, even if its selection of four dishes is not easily identifiable. And if you think those prices are a bit above the usual "cheap as chips" level, remember that each entree can serve two, with heat to spare.

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