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Thursday, October 17, 2013

Jambo Jambo, Crows Nest

How to eat Ethiopian curry with injera at Jambo Jambo Ethiopian African Restaurant Crows Nest

You’ll find a few African restaurants scattered across the suburbs, but Jambo Jambo is Sydney’s only Ethiopian one. Jambo Jambo (“hello hello” in Swahili) has been open for a year now, tucked away in the complex that time forgot, Crows Nest Plaza.

Dining room decor Jambo Jambo Ethiopian African Restaurant Crows Nest
Inside the Jambo Jambo dining room

The primary yellow, red and green walls offer a burst of Ethiopian patriotism, and it’s hard not to get into the spirit of things with the colonial-style high backed chairs, litany of tourism posters and tribal artefacts on the wall.

injera bread Jambo Jambo Ethiopian African Restaurant Crows Nest
Injera bread

Central to any Ethiopian meal is injera, a spongy fermented flatbread that looks like a coffee-coloured bubbly crepe. Owner, Joseph Bekele, makes his own using sorghum and teff flours, leaving it to ferment overnight for six hours to create its signature sour taste. 

Goden tibs grilled beef ribs meat Jambo Jambo Ethiopian African Restaurant Crows Nest'
Goden tibs grilled beef ribs $24

Ethiopian curries are either mild (alicha) or hot (wot) and are served in small scoops on a giant round of injera. There are mild and hot variations of chicken, lamb and beef - the doro wot chicken has a decent chilli kick.

lentil curry misr wot kitffo beef doro wot chicken key wot lamb stew goman collard greens alicha curried vegetable stew Jambo Jambo Ethiopian African Restaurant Crows Nest
[Clockwise from bottom left] Misr wot split lentils $19; kitffo beef cooked in spiced butter $24.50; doro wot chicken $24.50; key wot lamb stew $24; gomen collard greens and alicha curried vegetable stew provided as complimentary extras

Vegetarians can choose from five options (each $19), including split peas, split lentils, collard greens, powdered chickpeas and alicha: a potato, carrot and cabbage stew.

kitffo raw beef spiced butter Jambo Jambo Ethiopian African Restaurant Crows Nest
Kitffo raw lean beef with spiced butter $24.50

Our favourite dish of the night is the kitffo - lean beef that’s chopped finely and cooked in spiced butter. Ignore the rare or medium options and eat it how Ethiopians traditionally do it – raw. It’s the African version of steak tartare or Korean yukke, the raw beef macerated in a spiced clarified butter (Bekele makes his own). Do it. It’s amazing.

roasting Ethiopian coffee beans Jambo Jambo Ethiopian African Restaurant Crows Nest
Roasting Ethiopian coffee beans

On weekends, Bekele serves coffee from freshly roasted Ethiopian coffee beans. It’s a bit of a show, with the roasted beans proudly paraded around the room in a frypan cloaked in smoke. The coffee is surprisingly smooth, brewed in traditional clay jebena coffee pots.

jebena clay coffee pot Jambo Jambo Ethiopian African Restaurant Crows Nest
Jebena clay coffee pot

jebena clay coffee pot Jambo Jambo Ethiopian African Restaurant Crows Nest
Ethiopian coffee

Prices can seem a little steep at first sight, with each main the size of a single ladle, but the injera is unlimited, presented as little scrolls in wicker baskets. There’s no need for cutlery here. You simply unroll a section of injera, tear it off, and use it as a scoop for the curry.

kitffo raw beef spiced butter curries injera Jambo Jambo Ethiopian African Restaurant Crows Nest
Ethiopian kitffo raw beef with spiced butter, curries and injera

Ethiopian curries injera bread Jambo Jambo Ethiopian African Restaurant Crows Nest
Ethiopian curries on injera bread

Jambo Jambo Ethiopian African Restaurant Crows Nest


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Jambo Jambo African Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Jambo Jambo
Shop 16, Crows Nest Plaza
103-111 Willoughby Road, Crows Nest, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 9439 3277

Opening hours:
Dinner Tuesday to Sunday 6pm-1pm
Lunch hours vary, phone ahead to check

BYO only. Corkage $2.50 per person

This article appeared in the September 2013 issue of Time Out Sydney in my monthly Food & Drink column Eat This! [Read online

Read more of my Time Out Sydney reviews

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posted by Helen (Grab Your Fork) on 10/17/2013 12:03:00 am


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