Until one can travel to various far reaching destinations of the world; testing out said destinations’ culinary fares in your own backyard (in this case Calgary), is one way of feeling closer to said destination before actually traveling there.
Take for instance Ethiopia. I’d love to see Ethiopia one day but it’s not at the top of my travel list at the moment (I’m lookin’ at you India). So with culinary wings spread, it was time to hit up Marathon Ethiopian in Kensington.
With grass cloth covering the walls along with hues of reds and golds and wildlife artwork and lit by soft candlelight, Marathon is quite warm and inviting.
Our server, while not the speediest fellow, was friendly and we kicked off the meal with sambusa with vegetables ($5) — they were out of my first choice, the ayib bawaze a (special cheese made out of buttermilk).
Basically the samosas older brother, the sambusas were large and in charge, stuffed with lentils, fresh onion, jalapeno and ginger. Deep-fried to a golden brown and served nice and hot, I was impressed with the sambusa’s although I could of gone with a little less ginger. Dipping them in the accompanying berbere, (a favourite Ethiopian sauce, blood red with a nice kick to it) made for a nice pairing.
Objects in photo larger than they appear. Photos by Kelsey Hipkin
There were maybe about five full tables at the restaurant and maybe they were short staffed … or everything is made extra fresh … but it was about an hour before our entrées arrived.
Served with a side of Injera (traditional Ethiopian bread) we tried the Doro Wat and Doro Alicha. The Injera was certainly interesting, served cut and rolled, the bread was a brownish gray colour and had an almost sponge-like consistency, like a spongy crepe. On it’s own the Injera doesn’t have a ton of flavour but it was perfect for scooping up the chicken dishes as I went the traditional way of eating, sans cutlery.
The Doro Wat ($16), chunks of chicken marinated in lemon juice, then sauteed in spiced butter and seasoned with garlic, onions and ginger then coated in berbere sauce was good, yet hard to explain. It kind of had a taco, Subway meatball sub, spaghetti sauce kind of flavour to it - basically meaty and tomato-y without the tomato, but tasty.
The Doro Alicha ($16), chunks of chicken marinated in lemon juice then sauteed with tumeric, garlic and fresh ginger in a mild Ethiopian seasoning was my favourite of the two. The lemon flavour was prevalent and really added to the dish and when scooped up with some fresh lettuce and Injera was very nice.
*Note: I ate a lot more than that.
Marathon was a great new eating experience but a bit on the pricey side and that doesn’t quite make it worth the wait.
Might be worth trying the lunch buffet.
130 Tenth Street NW