My sister is newly engaged and so myself, the Sous-chef, Middle sister and the Admiral (her fiancee) decided to go out for dinner double date to celebrate. She asked me to pick the restaurant, I provided an extensive list. One of the options was an Ethiopian food place that our littlest sister loves and right away she wanted to go there, since she had never had Ethiopian food before.
AXUM is located next to an auto shop in a fairly desolate area of Clark and Hastings (although The Waldorf, Gourmet Warehouse, and Au Petit Chavignol are all within walking distance.) When we entered just before 6, there was only one other customer in the restaurant.
The space is quite spacious, extremely clean, and nicely decorated with basket-woven chairs, wall hangings, paintings, bright lighting and interesting little faux grass centrepieces.
We weren't in a rush to eat so we ordered some drinks and chatted for a while before even looking at the menu. The owner, who was also the only floor staff at the time, was very attentive and friendly. Ethiopian food is excellent for group dinners: it's food for sharing, trying everything from a family-style platter.
We ordered a Vegetarian Combo with four items ($10): Gomen (front right)-Fresh collared green and spinach simmered in mild sauce seasoned with mild sauce seasoned with spices and herbs, Tikil Gomen (far back left)- Cabbage and carrot simmered in mild sauce, Kik Alicha (middle right)- Yellow split peas simmered in mild sauce, and Akkilt Wot (front left)- Fresh green beans & fresh carrot simmered in flavoured mild sauce.
We added to the combo ordering Shiro ($10- middle left and back right) Pureed split peas cooked with red onion and garlic and Inguday Tibs ($10- centre) Portobello mushroom marinated and sauteed with onion, garlic, pepper, fresh tomato, herbs and spices. Our order arrived with the combo on a large platter with injera and our server brought out the additional items in bowls and scooped them onto the injera. Injera is a large, thin, pancake-like flat bread and since there are no utensils, you rip it into pieces and use it to scoop the food. They provided a side plate with two stacks of rolled injera. This injera was fresh tasting and it had an awesome spongy texture to help enjoy the sauces. My favourite item was the slightly spicy Shiro.
Service was friendly and prompt, the food was warm, delicious and packed with flavour (herbs and spices) and prices are extremely affordable. This is a fun, cheap and tasty place for a more adventurous group meal... if you don't mind eating with your hands!