Ephratha Finally Falls in Love with Chocolate

Ephratha Kibru

When the pandemic first hit Ethiopia, it was obvious restaurants and other social settings would be heavily affected- and they were. They still are. A great number of dining spots heavily rely on delivery to survive this blow. But with the cementing of almost universal mask use and other precautionary measures across Addis, more and more restaurants are testing the waters and opening up once again. Still, it is foolish to assume one will venture far from home and thus, restaurants close to suburbs are likely to gain from this resurgence. One such place is Bettucci Ristorante & Pizzeria, an Italian restaurant in Addis, located in the ever-growing neighborhood known as Summit.

Although working with a very constricted space on the 1st floor of the Maranata building, Bettucci manages to feel airy rather than cramped, in no small part to its big windows, light furniture, and generally amicable atmosphere.

Photo Courtesy of Betucci Italian Restaurant

Bettucci was realized a little less than two years ago by a husband, wife, and long-time family friend. Having trained and worked in the culinary business for over 20 years in Italy and Ethiopia, the trio set to bring authentic yet affordable Italian cuisine to Addis. They handle all the cooking themselves as they trust no one else to deliver on the same quality they set out to produce. Because of this, they leave for a month once a year to bring more Italian recipes and ingredients- all straight from the source. And so, Bettucci is closed at around the same time every summer. This time, from the 18th of July up until the 6th of September.

We ordered the house’s most popular dishes, a classic Margherita pizza, a Gemelli pizza, and a tagliatelle carbonara. Two out of these three dishes contain ham and their popularity would have been surprising given the fact that most of our people don’t eat pork; but when a lot of your customers are expatriates, it is to be expected.

For all my 20 years on this earth, I could not, for the life of me, handle the taste of chocolate. And despite being acutely aware of my disdain, I decided to give the cake a try, mostly just so I wouldn’t appear rude.

Before our main dishes came Focaccia, an Italian oven-baked flatbread that served as an appetizer. Donned with onions and two different dips, this starter was somewhat hard and biscuit-like, leading to a much-appreciated crunchiness. We cleared the plate before we even knew it.

The main dishes then arrived, and we proceeded to feast. The Margherita pizza was up first, and immediately, I noticed the crust. Slim yet still spongy, it was sure to be a hit with thin crust fans. The somewhat sweet yet tangy tomato base reminded me of pasta sauce in both taste and texture. The mozzarella was nice and fresh, though not as plentiful as I would have personally preferred. There is no such thing as too much cheese for me. But all in all, it was a fantastic rendition of a timeless dish.

Next was the Carbonara. Although typically served with spaghetti, this version included tagliatelle. Now, for those of you who don’t know, different types of pasta work well with different types of sauces. The heavier, more creamy sauces are typically served with wider kinds of pasta while the more wet and light types come with thinner ones. Nevertheless, I was very interested to see how this all played out. And it worked out wonderfully. The hefty oiliness provided by the cured ham went hand in hand with the egg-heavy pasta and cheese. It was simply a delight.

Finally, we had the Gemelli pizza. Donned with Italian ham, potatoes, and rosemary, this dish was unique. The salty and juicy ham went hand in hand with the cheese, which might I add, was more abundant here than in the Margherita. The potatoes, although a seemingly peculiar addition, worked seamlessly in the pizza, thanks in part to the rosemary, which had helped fuse the whole dish together.

Once finished with our main meal, we were treated to dessert- chocolate cake. Now, I should disclose that I don’t normally like chocolate, with my only notable exception being chocolate chip cookies. That was it. For all my 20 years on this earth, I could not, for the life of me, handle the taste of chocolate. And despite being acutely aware of my disdain, I decided to give the cake a try, mostly just so I wouldn’t appear rude. It was a three-piece muffin chocolate cake welded together. Fresh from the oven and still warm. I sank my fork into a portion and immediately, dark, melted chocolate oozed out. It was a lava cake. I grew a bit more uneasy with that knowledge, fearing I might even visibly gag. And then I tasted it. I was honestly at a loss for words. It was just so good! I simply could not get enough and had to fight the urge to hog all three pieces to myself. The soft and sweet muffin just went so well with the warm and sour dark chocolate. “Along with all our other ingredients, we import the chocolate from Italy ourselves,” the owner tells me, “We found that the local chocolate didn’t work nearly as well and the foreign ones they sell here are too expensive to realistically work with.” Never in my life did I expect to so thoroughly enjoy chocolate cake, much less chocolate lava cake, but I did. That alone should be testament enough for you to try it. I guarantee you will not be disappointed in the slightest.

Now, I’ve already mentioned that Bettucci’s annual closing is coming soon, so before that date arrives, I suggest you treat yourself with a visit. I am sure you will find yourself waiting eagerly for their return.

Key Information

Bettucci Ristorante & Pizzeria

Location: Around Summit on the 1st floor of the Maranata building

Working days: Everyday except wednesday

Working days: From 12AM- 8PM

Phone no: 0991162244

The restaurant will be closed between 18 July 2020 and 06 September 2020

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