Epratha Kibru

Photo Credit Abenezer Geleta

A while back, I had made my way to a restaurant sitting on the ground floor of Ambassador Hotel- Delmela. Now, 20 months later, I made my way back to the ground floor of the same hotel but instead of stepping through Delmela’s doors, I entered Sosha, the café/ restaurant right next door. Sosha had been open for business for a year and a half now but one wouldn’t guess that from their almost nonexistent online presence. Because of this, before setting foot, my one preconceived notion was that Sosha would be, more or less, empty. But boy was I wrong. Word of mouth marketing had done Sosha a great service and the whole place was bustling from activity and chit chat, with customers coming and going in droves. In fact, when the LinkUp team started taking up a bit of space to get the best angles for pictures, a regular of Sosha’s humorously chastised us, telling us we shouldn’t have come during lunch. And he was right. Though the minimal space occupied by Sosha made it wonderfully cozy, it also meant our work could be an irk to other customers.

We soon met Chamshign, the easy-going co-owner/ manager of Sosha and she started telling us a little bit more about the place. “This is a family venture, a place conceived by my brother,” she tells me, “I was always very interested in healthy dining but I never thought I’d be working in cuisine since I was trained as an accountant. But my brother always did. And after he had lived in the states for some time, he decided to bring a sort of avant-garde take on healthy cuisine to Addis.” She continues, “The fast food abroad is almost widely regarded as a sort of fine dining here and we wanted to change that.” Noting this, Sosha became among the first salad bars in Addis. You had the option of either ordering a predesigned salad or making one of your own from among the 12 different ingredients Sosha offers. Beyond their expansive salads though, Sosha also offers a variety of wraps and sandwiches among other dishes, all within a very reasonable price range.

Our meal for the day was decided, with a multitude of dishes lined up. Two salads, four different pasta salads, two wraps, four juices, and three assorted desserts. There was definitely a lot to unpack and Chamshign was there to help us through it all.

“Before setting foot, my one preconceived notion was that Sosha would be, more or less, empty. But boy was I wrong.”

First came the salads. They were both Sosha’s Seasonal Salad Bar but with different dressings. One was dressed in peanuts & sesame seed (selit) while the other had the homemade Cilantro instead. I decided to start with the peanuts & sesame seed salad and helped myself to a bite. And wow. This was easily one of best salads I’d ever had. The chickpeas and cucumber, among the rest of the greens, danced gracefully with the boiled eggs. The tomatoes were fresh and ripe, mixing wonderfully with the flavorful olives. It was all tied together with the creamy and incredibly tasty dressing. I was equally impressed with the salad in Cilantro. Although the only thing different here was the dressing, it definitely changed the taste. The Cilantro was spicier and brought with it less creaminess but more bite.

Next, we followed up with a selection of Sosha’s brand new pasta salads. The first one was a farfalle pasta salad with peanuts. The pasta and greens were coated in the slightly tangy, somewhat creamy house-made ranch. The peanuts then added some much-appreciated pizazz to the dish. The tomato fusilli pasta salad was another marvel. Made from grilled zucchini, eggplants, and tomato, topped with olives and feta cheese, dressed in ketchup and vinaigrette, this was an interesting dish to say the least. The dressing was surprisingly good, and I wouldn’t have guessed what it was made off if it wasn’t on the menu- it really was that novel to my tongue. The feta cheese wasn’t the best in texture as it slightly resisted the crumbling so characteristic of feta cheese, but it really wasn’t an issue as the rest of the dish more than made up for it. The subsequent farfalle pasta sesame salad was a fasting option and was sharp and somewhat bitter- mainly due to the sesame seeds- and it served to excite my taste buds. The final pasta salad was another fasting option and it was made with a variety of greens along side avocado, and vinaigrette dressing. This dish was less noteworthy than the previous 3 pasta salads but it still held its own as a satisfying meal.

The chicken wrap with mozzarella cheese (a house favorite) and the chickpea wrap came after and we proceeded to delve in. I took a bite of the former and immediately loved it. The chicken was tender, the mozzarella was fresh, and the pesto was working its magic alongside the onion and tomatoes. But what I noticed most was the pita bread. It was thin but not delicate, firm but not crunchy. “We make it from white wheat along with rye (aja),” Chamshign tells me. It is part of Sosha’s initiative to incorporate traditionally local ingredients in unique new recipes. And I was loving it. The chickpea wrap was another hit. This was a fasting option and so its main actors were the titular chickpea, avocado, and barley (in the form of qinche).  They molded beautifully together and the dash of chili pepper in the wrap added an interesting flair to the dish. The sides that come with the wraps- roasted potatoes and salads- also held their own. The potatoes were in nice, chunky little bites and they were roasted with their skin, creating a nice dynamic to the texture as well as adding a bit more to the flavor.

Photo Credit: Abenezer Geleta

Our final dishes were the desserts but before they arrived, we had a few of Sosha’s nutritious juices. The first of which went by the name ‘The Energizer’. It was a smoothie made from dates and yogurt and unlike anything I had ever tasted before. It was sharp, biting, and so plentiful and thick that it could be easily considered as a meal of its own. And that’s exactly what Sosha’s regulars often opt to do. Chamshign says, “Our juices are heavily packed and nutritious, making them perfect to have as breakfast.” The Banana Yogurt smoothie was similarly thick but had a bit more to unpack. The flaxseed (telba) incorporated into this healthy drink spiced up the texture and worked surprisingly well with the honey as well. The last two juices were considerably lighter and greener. They were the Cucumber Sugarcane and the Spinach Sugarcane juices. The former was not too sweet and was very refreshing and the ginger in the juice kept it interesting. Chamshign described it as the perfect drink to cool down with after a hot day and I couldn’t have agreed more. The Spinach juice was another fascinating creation. It was definitely stronger than the cucumber but you quickly get used to it. Spinach always reminds me of the old Popeye cartoons. There, the titular character is constantly facing some adversary or another and the only way he can come out on top is if he downs a can of spinach because they give him super strength. Of all the meals with spinach I’ve eaten in my life, this juice was what made me feel like Popeye the most. I absolutely loved it.

At long last, we were treated to dessert. We were to have a fruit salad, a chocolate affogato mousse, and a sort of yogurt parfait made with chocolate syrup and honey. The fruit salad was dressed with honey and lemon, coating the fresh fruits in a sweet but not saccharine syrup. It was very refreshing. The parfait was similarly enjoyable as the chocolate syrup and honey added a pleasant tang to the plain yogurt. But the mousse was by far my favorite. As someone who claims to dislike chocolate, it seems that I am making more and more exceptions to that rule every day. It was warm, thick, and somewhat bitter yet still sweet. By this point, I was quite full to say the least, yet I couldn’t stop helping myself to more and more of the mousse. It really was that good. And most surprising of all, it was made from our local NIB chocolate. Ethiopian chocolate doesn’t have much of a reputation and so I was shocked to find out it was used to make such a quality dish. It was a must try.

Having finally finished our meal, I resorted to having a quick chat with the head chef, the one person responsible for training the sous chefs and delivering on consistent quality. He tells me, “As long as you have proper instruments, the right ingredients, good recipes, and well-trained staff, you guarantee yourself a fantastic meal.” And all those standards are met here. In fact, Sosha has retained almost all its employees since its inception. “Its like family here, Chamshign says. It is one of the reasons Sosha is so consistent. You are guaranteed the same dish you enjoyed days or even weeks before. This emphasis on consistency is why Sosha did not rush to market themselves on social media then and why they are hesitant to open more branches now. “Often times, when a restaurant turns into a franchise, there is bound to be some inconsistency and reduction in quality. So, we refuse to gamble with that until we can guarantee the perseverance of the standards we’ve set for ourselves.” she finishes.

In conclusion, if you’re looking for a new spot in town, if you’re craving healthy and delicious meals with ample portions and a price that won’t rip through your wallet, I highly recommend giving Sosha a try. You will not be disappointed.

Key Info

The info for the place:

Instagram- sosha.et

Opening hours- Everyday from 7AM-9PM

Phone no- 0933424242

On Google Maps: YES

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