Tenner Or Less: Engocha, Fortess Road

Hearty, good-value Ethiopian scran – it’s also vegan and gluten free


Where? The Tufnell Park end, next to the laundrette and opposite fishmonger Jonathan Norris. Oh, and just a few doors down from Lalibela, the longstanding Ethiopian restaurant.

What? A super-healthy café that’s not only plant-based but also gluten- and nut-free. There’s Ethiopian coffee and tea to sip on and a house special of warmed coconut milk with turmeric. Injera (the spongy unleavened bread made from a fine grain called teff) is served with a choice of spiced lentil and veggie stews (aka wots): go for a combo of three, four or five. Fancy rice instead? Not a problem, there’s basmati on hand.

Why? This is hearty, good-value scran. We opt for a trio (£4.99) and choose tikil gomen (curried potatoes, cabbage and carrots, but there’s a distinct lack of potato), misir kiki (medium spiced red lentils) and ater kik (pureed yellow split peas simmered in turmeric and ginger), with plenty of that slightly sour injera to mop it all up with. Our favourite wot? Hands down the misir kiki – well-cooked lentils, still with a slight bite, and a warming kick from the berbere, an Ethiopian spice mix of chilli peppers, garlic, ginger, basil and cardamom, amongst other things.

Until three months ago, this was a family-run Ethiopian Butchers. Photo: LE

To drink? The coconut mocha (£2.70) – rich and delish (Bounty lovers, this is one for you). If you’re really hungry forgo a drink and pick five curries for £8.99.

Don’t: forget they do takeaway too, if you don’t fancy pulling up a pew at one of the tables or window counters.

Notes: For two decades it was home to a family-run Ethiopian butchers and grocery store; three months ago they changed direction but kept the name Engocha which, incidentally, means a small piece of bread, baked mainly for children.

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Engocha, open daily 11am-8pm at 143 Fortess Road, NW5

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