This issue, it’s about satisfying those tantalising taste buds and checking out a place nothing short of interesting, Timbuktu in Cape Town, all at the same time.
As I walked into the Pan African Market, two bizarre, naked statues captivated my eyes. To my right a set of stairs that I naturally decided to follow on my search for Ethiopian restaurant, Timbuktu. Entering the first floor with wooden African crafts around every corner – from little ornaments to big elephant trunks hanging from the walls – I found myself lost in the artificial land of Africa. As I continued searching for the restaurant (I didn’t ask because I enjoyed the excitement of exploring), one thing I really appreciated was the diversity of people, a really cool richness, in language especially.
After going all the way up to the third floor and then back down to the second, I came across the cute tiny restaurant. Beautifully decorated, my favourite part, the balcony, gave me the feel of being in somewhat of a little India with the mixture of the golds, pinks and blues used in the draping all around, coupled by the male statues each wearing a fez, like make-believe servants. At this point I totally forgot I was in town, it felt like another world. The relaxed atmosphere was perfect for a hot summer’s day. When it came to ordering, I decided to go with the waiter’s recommendation, a dish called “Tibs”. He described it as a stir-fry with the choice of beef, lamb or plain veg. All dishes are served with traditional Ethiopian bread called Njere, and a light salad. Meals are very reasonably priced and ranged from as low as 20 bucks to about R80. Drinks were pretty much the usual, except for watermelon juice which I had never heard of before.
Right before the food arrived I received a bowl of warm water with lemon and a beautifully rolled hand towel to clean up before and after my meal.
The food smelled divine, aromas of rosemary and chilli (that about concludes my skill for scents). It looked delicious and it was time to get to tasting. “Mmmm” was the first sound from my mouth. I’m no food guru so it’s hard to describe, but the food was so full of flavour, I could only imagine the variety of herbs and spices used to create the taste in my mouth. The Njere had a sourness that balanced out the sweetness of the Tibs, and the salad simply completed the meal.
All in all, this place was a little gem indeed. If you’re looking to check out something different and try something new, Timbuktu should be right at the top of your list.
Writer: Nicola Daniels