For appetizers, the Vegetable Pakora were served timely. It came with a magical chutney and hot sauce. The table wasn't very impressed with the pakora, but Dennis, who is an experienced pakora eater, gave it (3.5/5). He explained that the pakora had the right texture and was not deep fried and soaked in grease. However, it was presented poorly.
After the pakora, we waited an hour to get the other appetizer, Boerewos Kobab. The actual sausage was good, but the grilled bell pepper were magical. The flavours were unfamiliar but delightful. It had inspired my interests in African cuisine. Again, there was no thoughts to presentation. (4/5)
We waited another hours to be served our main course. However, it was well worth the wait. First was the Prawns Puri Puri. There were generous amount of large prawns and puri puri sauce. It was delicious, but unmemorable. (3.5/5). Second was the Lamb Tagines with Rice. (The couscous is a lie). The dish came in a Tagine and was ceremoniously opened in front of us. The the leg of lamb was huge, falling off the bone. Although I had better lamb tagine at Chambar, this lamb is damn good for the price. The waitress informed us that the owner handmade all the tagines himself (4/5). The star of the night is Ingudi Watt, a vegan dish with peas, mushrooms, and spinach stew served with injera, ethiopian flat bread. You eat it with your hands. The portions were big enough for a table of 4. Although it wasn't mind blowing, it was very enjoyable and fun. I also appreciate a good vegan dish. It's a lot more challenging to make than a good French dish (4/5) .
The dessert is nothing to write home about. Cheesecake with Mango Sauce and Pecan Brandy Tart was unmemorable at best: a waste of calorie intake (2.5/5). Dennis, an expert in Baklava, gave the dish a failing grade. "Below average, but not horrible" (2/5).
We sort of feel bad for the one waitress they have. They had a full house, there were only 1.5 servers (the guy was totally slacking), and the kitchen was behind. She served everyone to her best ability, filled their water glasses timely, and apologized about the wait repeatedly. Most impressively, she went into the kitchen and helped prepare the food. The restaurant would not have be able to served everyone without her. If I have a restaurant, I would want to hire people like her.
The decor of the restaurant was pretty ordinary. Dennis found it a little cheesy. "Like decorating a Chinese restaurant with stuffed pandas and a gong". The table was wobbly and the washroom had no lock. Never bring someone there for the first date, unless you want to weed out dates with small comfort zones.
Overall Experience (2/5):
I will most likely not go back again. The whole dinner took 3 hours to complete. There is another Ethiopian food on Commercial Street that is much faster and offers similar food. I rather pay extra money to have better Moroccan food at Chambar. However, this is completely a management issue. The food was good and well priced, but I did not appreciate the chaos, the wait time, and the lack of attention to details.