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“Unusual dining experience”

habesha restaurant and bar
Ranked #171 of 2,345 Restaurants in Manchester
Certificate of Excellence
Cuisines: Ethiopian
Dining options: Late Night, Reservations
Restaurant details
Dining options: Late Night, Reservations
Reviewed June 17, 2013

Situated above a kebab shop in the Manchester Gay Village Quarter, Habesha does not look appealing from the outside. But once climbing the spiral staircase, the restaurant opens out into a medium sized space tastefully decorated in East African art and traditional furnishings.
The menu is not extensive with just a handful of "home cooked" dishes and we chose a selection between the four of us. The food is eaten with traditional flat bread which resembles a whitish Staffordshire oatcake which you use to mop up the food and eat with your fingers. The food on the whole was tasty and unusual with fiery sauces used to offset the cheaper cuts of meat used. Our favourite was indeed the selection of vegetarian options. Least favourite was the mince dish, which to be fair our waiter had warned us was not to everyone's taste. Later googling confirmed
that the Ethopian butter it was made with is uses sour milk which accounts for the slight unpleasantness of the dish.
All in all a very interesting dining experience, cheap (£38 for 4 with tasty Ethopian beer) with a laid back, friendly staff.
So if you are looking for something different in your
dining experience Habesha is well recommended.

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1  Thank jmc165
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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140 - 144 of 206 reviews

Reviewed June 15, 2013

Habesha is located on Sackville Street in the heart of the village in the city centre close to the Rembrandt pub. I'd been given the heads-up by several friends but when I passed at lunchtimes it always seemed to be closed. I recently made a point of checking the unusual opening times (3-11pm Mon-Fri, 1-11pm Sat, 2-11pm Sun) and went in today for lunch. The entrance up the spiral staircase is quite unusual to say the least but walking up and into a colourful restaurant with an Ethiopian interior was very different and made me smile instantly.

The service here is warm and reserved, and for the egocentric and/or impatient amongst you, it's also very authentic and not rushed, so expect this before you go, and chill out :-) I ordered the only vegetarian dish on the menu, Yetsom beyeynetu. This arrived on a 12 inch steel platter and consisted of spinach, a yellow lentil dish, red lentil dish, and a mild mixed vegetable sauce made with cabbage, potato and carrots seasoned with spices (as well as a small portion of fresh salad). All of this (in five neat portions) was sat on an injera, a yeast-risen pancake with a slightly spongy texture made out of teff flour. This is the unique national dish of Ethiopia and Eritrea and two more rolled injera in a small basked arrived with my main dish. These are used to eat with. I also ordered tea, which came in a glass cup of cinnamon flavoured hot water, with the optional tea bag at the side of the saucer as well as a sugar bowl (and some paper napkins for the pinkies).

Whilst it didn't seem much when it first arrived, my senses had yet again duped me, as I was of course looking for rice or something similar without realising that the injera alone would more than compensate and indeed be quite filling. Of the two lentil dishes, the red lentil was particularly good, rich, creamy and slightly spicy, with the spinach tasting and looking something similar to how Indian saag is presented. The mixed cabbage was also very tasty and slightly sweet. Although Ethiopian food was completely new to me, it was all very enjoyable indeed. The injera seemed particularly unusual due to their slightly spongy texture, as well as being very filling. They are a form of pancake after all and I could not finish all three, and for me, perhaps two would have been enough and I was glad of the tea at the end of my meal. This again was quite unusual but very welcome, the light cinnamon flavour wonderfully refreshing.

All of this was very good value for money, £6.50 for the freshly cooked meal and £1 for the tea. I waddled down the spiral staircase in need of a city centre constitutional (one injera too many I reckon) and will certainly return at some point. Recommended for the foodie/flavour curious, this is a quite different restaurant setting and experience, serving exceptionally good value, freshly-cooked Ethiopian food.

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2  Thank Nimitta
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 31, 2013

Took a punt on this one on the strength of Tripadvisor reviews and very glad I did. I eat out a lot due to travelling away weekly for work so I am always on the lookout for something a little bit different. If the food happens to be good as well then that is a welcome bonus!

We ordered 3 dishes between the two of us - lamb, chicken and veggie - food arrived quickly and well presented.

You'll find no cutlery here (saves on the washing up) so food is eaten using the pancakes that accompany the dishes. Tear off a patch of pancake and grasp a morsel to chomp on. Repeat until finished!

I ordered the Eritrean beer but unfortunately they were all gone, so settled on the Ethiopian beer instead. Tasty with a slight hopiness, and remarkably cheap!

All items very tasty and I will definitely be back. Shame there are no starters or deserts - I am sure they could formulate something in the Ethiopian style that would fill this gap in their menu.

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1  Thank techie-nerdo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 22, 2013

Great service, excellent food, especially the vegetarian version. Don't be put off by the take-away downstairs, it is like another world upstairs!

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Thank Yujiang W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 16, 2013

I took a group of four other university collegues to Habesha. Having been a fan of Ethiopian food for some time, I was keen to introduce the cuisine to my friends and Habesha was a GREAT introduction! The food was excellent and we ordered six different main courses between the five of us. Everyone agreed, there is nothing quite like Ethiopian food and Habesha certainly compared extremely well with the restaurants I am used to. We were in Manchester for a few days and tried many places to eat but Habesha was the clear highlight. Excellent service and a very pleasant space. Well worth looking for- take the spiral staircase to the restaurant on the first floor! Including drinks (mainly Ethiopian St Georges Beer), the five of us ate for under £60! A real treat- I will be returning...

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1  Thank James F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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