Lula’s Ethiopian and Eritrean Cuisine has been a familiar face at the Gloucester Green market on Wednesdays and Saturdays for a long time, with her vegan options being a firm favourite for a tasty lunch. Lula has recently branched out into pop-ups on Fridays at Common Ground on Little Clarendon Street in Jericho, as well as an exclusively vegetarian and vegan lunch offering every Monday in the same location. Finally she’s launched a brand new monthly event, ‘Ethiopian Sunday brunch’ to run on the last Sunday of every month, featuring traditional Ethiopian food, coffee ceremony and music, aiming to bring together the community with good food and good company.
I attended the Sunday brunch event in February and tucked in to a delicious plate piled high with various naturally vegan dishes. You can decide whether to go for rice, injera, or half and half. Injera is the staple Ethiopian food and would typically be the basis of your meal. It’s made with a gluten free grain called Teff, which was one of the earliest plants domesticated. You use five fingers to scoop up curry into a ball inside your injera for a delicious combination of flavours. Lula’s injera was wonderfully spongy and soft with that distinctive ‘sour’ taste. The free-flowing rice was also lovely, mixed through with olive oil, and a great alternative to soak up the flavours.
On Mondays, Lula has an entirely vegan menu, but at the Sunday brunch there were still plenty of options. I had five different Ethiopian dishes piled up on my dish. The yellow split peas were super creamy and comforting, with a mild flavour. All of the dishes are salted and seasoned to perfection. Next there was Fosalia, a mixture of green beans, carrots and onions. The vegetables were nicely cooked so no soggy veg, and there was a hint of chilli heat. In contrast, a beetroot and potato dish brought an earthy sweetness to the plate, and they both still retained a bit of a bite which adds nice texture to the meal. Gomen is a dish made with cabbage, carrots and potatoes, again slightly sweeter and cooked down with onions and a delicious blend of spices. Finally, a red lentil dish, the spiciest of the lot, adding some heat to the plate but not blowing your socks off (children were happily tucking into meals too).
I thoroughly enjoyed and savoured every mouthful of my meal. I love that the dishes are all naturally made with healthy, whole food ingredients, giving me a good handful of my five a day in one go. It feels like indulgent comfort food, while still being nourishing and good for you! An added bonus to the Sunday brunch was the traditional Ethiopian coffee ceremony. Lula served coffee with many of the attendees sitting round in a circle, enjoying each others company and conversation, learning from each other about Ethiopian culture, which was a lovely unique experience. The coffee was accompanied by a big bowl of popcorn for people to tuck into too.
I’d recommend trying Lula’s food if you haven’t already, knowing that you’re supporting a local independent business while tucking into your delicious and filling lunch. Perhaps I’ll see you at the next Ethiopian Sunday Brunch event at Common Ground Workshop – let me know in the comments if you’re coming!
I support Lula with the marketing for her business for a fee, so I attended this event in that capacity and received food for free. However, I was a paying customer of Lula’s long before this and I love her food!
This review originally appeared on Vegan Eats Oxford.