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The new Ethiopian Cultural Centre ♦

Set in a couple of low-lying whitewashed buildings with red tiled roofs clustered around a courtyard, the unpresuming new Ethiopian Cultural Centre brings a taste of Addis Ababa to Delhi. Director Ashok Verma, who set up the centre in tandem with the Ethiopian Embassy, met us in the coffee “tukul” (a type of thatched building) on the premises. “Ambassador Gennet Zewide is a proactive lady with a lot of Indian friends,” Verma told us. “She decided to set up a cultural centre with a museum, a coffee shop and a restaurant for Ethiopian food, since food is an integral part of a country.” Indeed, the Ethiopian chef at Blue Nile restaurant is a capable diplomat for her cuisine and we enjoyed a varied meal of injera (traditional bread) and various stews (wat) and salads there at a reasonable rate.

The museum with gift shop is reminiscent of our own sarkari cultural outposts, but Verma assured us it would be expanding and that the centre would organise film screenings, Ethopian dances, music and so on. “We will not accept walk-in clients and there is no commercial activity, but we will have a cultural calendar,” Verma elaborated. The centre is still fairly new and not exactly buzzing with patrons yet, so it wouldn’t hurt to try calling ahead and pay a visit.

Ethiopian Cultural Centre 7/50- G, Niti Marg, Chanakyapuri. For membership details contact the Embassy of Ethiopia (+91 11 2611 9513).

Originally published in Time Out Delhi, April 2012.