Verdant Centre

The Ethiopian cafe is an introduction to the country’s coffee and rituals.

Written by Pallavi Chattopadhyay | Published: May 17, 2013 12:02 am

The Ethiopian cafe is an introduction to the country’s coffee and rituals.

Renowned paleoanthropologist Donald C Johanson found the world’s most famous early human ancestor in 1974 in Ethiopia – a 3.2 million-year old fossil of a female skeleton,popularly known as Lucy. It is no surprise then to notice a postcard of Lucy in the small museum of the two month-old Ethiopian Cultural Centre at Chanakyapuri.

A large verdant courtyard has a standee of an Ethiopian lady dressed in a white traditional attire placed at the entrance,almost welcoming you into the premise. Unlike most of the cultural centres in the Capital,the space here is layered with trees and flowers,surrounded by photographs of Ethiopian women and men performing rituals. Tucked away from the scorching heat and surrounded by whitewashed walls,a sense of calm prevails and manages to strike the right chord with the visitor.

All those looking forward to bond over a cup of coffee must head to the coffee room where the East African nation’s traditional coffee ceremony is performed every day. Almost resembling a hut with slanting bamboo roofs,placed at the centre of the room are a number of tiny china tea bowls on a small table on the ground. Low couches with traditional paintings adorn the room and the Ethiopian coffee is served with popcorn. In Ethiopia,it is common for the women to prepare coffee and invite others to discuss their family and share experiences.

Adjacent to the room is the Blue Nile restaurant,where one would get Injera. A flat sour fermented dough bread,made of “teff”,a fine grain unique to Ethiopia,Injera accompanies various stews (wat). We tried the Begg Wat,which was mutton cooked with a special chilli and onion sauce,and the blend worked perfectly well for us with its hint of spice.

On your way out of the centre,a glance of the museum is hard to miss. On the shelves are paintings,bows,arrows,coffee containers made of leather,wooden toys,showpieces,and traditional dresses,which give you a brief idea about Ethiopia and its people.

It’s open only for members. What’s missing are cultural programmes and film screenings,which are integral to most of the cultural centres. But that should not be a deterrent since Ethiopian cultural dance and music are slated to begin from next month.

Address : 7/50 G,Niti Marg,Chankyapuri. Contact: 24673654.

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