Although it really is too cool, this restaurant is actually named after a traditional Ethiopian adobe hut, where conviviality and atmosphere are the order of the day. Reincarnated in a permanent brick building on Brussels’ gritty but gentrifying Rue de Laeken, the owners have succeeded in capturing the dreamy ambiance of the exotic. The ubiquitous dark wood, in various shades, creates a cosy vibe, which is reinforced by the friendly staff and intriguing music.
If you’re familiar with Ethiopian food, you will already expect the hefty portions, served up on deliciously fermented injera bread. If it’s your first experience, be prepared for unusual and delicious flavor combinations, a touch of spice and a communal eating experience. Just be sure to wash your hands and don’t look for your missing fork; you’re not supposed to have one. A touch of magic will send a wet cloth to your table before you tuck in. You’ll see what I mean…
Go hungry and be prepared to leave full: Injera is heavy stuff. I recommend starting with a drink of Tej, a traditional Ethiopian honey-wine, to get the party started.
Toukoul is also a bar and cultural venue and regularly hosts concerts by upcoming local musicians. See their website for details. In case your Ethiopian evening leaves you wanting more of the country, fortunately Brussels can also boast a fantastic Ethiopian coffee house (see Aksum article).