With family in town over the holidays, we were looking for a place that could comfortably feed all six of us, especially one that might be new for our guests. After some thought, we decided to take everyone to Injeera, one of several African restaurants in our area. I've been to Injeera on a couple of occasions now, and always love trying their sampler platters at the Bohnenviertelfest that's held every summer in the neighborhood.
Though there's more variety at some of the other African restaurants, I really like the Ethiopian focus and quality of the sauces at Injeera. And though the menu might be a bit less varied, they do what they do really well.
Because it was the holiday season and because there was a group of us, we decided to call ahead for a reservation, which turned out to be a very good decision. The restaurant is rather small to begin with, and when we arrived it was already full. We were, however, quickly seated at a large table set aside for us, and our drink orders were taken as we perused the menu.
All of us were very hungry, and so we decided to go all out and order as much variety as we could. We got the Kulwa meat platter with beef, chicken, and lamb, the vegetable platter with lentils, okra, and other mixed veggies, and the Zigni ostrich platter to try something new. I honestly don't remember the difference between the Kulwa and Zigni sauces, as both were rich tomato-based sauces, but they were both very good with more spice than heat in the flavor.
Every dish we ordered was delicious, though the tender, fall-off-the-bone chicken was definitely my favorite. It wasn't smothered in as much sauce and was a bit spicier than the other meats. And while I liked the finely chopped lamb a lot, the beef would probably have to be my second favorite as it had a really rich meaty flavor to complement the thick sauce in which the beef was coated.
The meat platter did come with some vegetables already on it, including Injeera's delicious, soft lentils, though I liked the addition of the okra on the vegetable platter. Okra is rather rare in Germany, so I try to eat it when I can to remember some of the southern cooking that I miss from the States.
All of the meat and vegetables came served on injeera, the African flat bread that the restaurant gets its name from. The consistency is more like a spongy pancake, making it perfect for soaking up the sauces of the food. You simply pinch a piece from the edge and scoop up a portion of food. The best part is eating the last of the injeera that the food has been sitting on. Of course the bread is a soppy mess at that point, but the sauce is heavenly.
In the end, I think we could have sufficed with just the two platters for the six of us and left out either the ostrich or the veggie platter, though I'm glad we got to try everything. This style of eating was also extremely fun for our family as we battled each other to scoop up our next bites. I also noticed that we weren't the only group that evening, making the restaurant very accommodating for large groups despite the limited number of tables. If you do consider taking a group, though, just bear in mind that you must feel comfortable with sharing from the same plate and eating with your fingers.
Despite the business of the restaurant, our service was very good. Our waitress was attentive and friendly, and even brought out a bowl of water for Leo. We didn't ask for menus in English, though this doesn't mean they don't have them, so do ask if you need one. (We simply translated for our non-German-speaking visitors before ordering.)
Injeera is located in the old Bonenviertel (meaning "bean quarter") on Wagnerstraße. It's a lovely, cobblestoned area with small shops and restaurants, so I suggest you go early or stay late and walk around some. The area is central to several U-bahn stations, though Charlottenplatz is probably the closest if you're in a hurry. Note that though the restaurant's website advertises lunch hours, I've only seen it open for dinner, so you may want to call ahead to confirm before you go in the middle of the day.
Have you tried any of the African restaurants in Stuttgart? Which one is your favorite?