Written by Andrew Ffrench, originally published in the Oxford Mail.
A new Ethiopian cafe in a community hub in Oxford has won a positive review from an independent food and drink guide.
The Oriental Condor, a former Chinese restaurant in Frideswide Square, remained empty for about a decade until last month when it reopened as a space for the local community called The Community Works.
It’s the latest location in the city centre run by community interest company, Makespace Oxford, which is based in Aristotle Lane.
The building is a flagship of the city council’s Meanwhile in Oxfordshire programme, which seeks to ‘reanimate’ empty and underused spaces in Oxford’s urban centres.
Among the businesses occupying the space are Lula’s Ethiopian & Eritrean Cuisine, who have run a stall at Oxford’s regular food markets, and JF, a takeaway cafe outpost of The Jam Factory, a short distance away in the square.
Lula Kinnaird, founder and owner of Lula’s Ethiopian & Eritrean Cuisine, said earlier: “It’s been our dream to open a space that can bring the community together, and provide a welcoming atmosphere to enjoy good food with great company.
“Our food is cooked with the love and care we would show to our family, and our customers are not just customers, they are friends. The most important thing to us is bringing happiness to people with our food (and yes, that includes making sure every bite tastes amazing)!”
The restaurant has now won a glowing review from independent food and drinks guide Bitten Oxford.
Liz Wilding wrote: “Lula’s Ethiopian and Eritrean Cuisine has been my go-to lunch at the Gloucester Green market since I first discovered it several years ago.
“The well-spiced dishes and Lula’s smile have been consistently welcoming, hearty, and delicious. So I was eager, and a tiny bit nervous, to see how her new restaurant on Frideswide Square would shape up. The casual, friendly venue is a good fit for Lula’s family-style dining. Lula’s has a laid-back table service where you’re seated to read the menu at your leisure, and then order at the counter. The selection includes 8-10 traditional Ethiopian and Eritrean dishes (depending on the specials), with a focus on authentic, healthy food.
“There are plenty of veggie and vegan options. If you have questions, Lula or one of her staff will be on hand to explain the food, and how it will be served.”
Ms Wilding added: “We ordered the Gold Plate Special: a large sharing platter that reflects a long tradition of communal eating. It came with a selection of dishes from the main menu, served on a wide metal plate lined with injera. This is the Ethiopian flatbread with a distinctive tangy taste. The delicious dishes at Lula’s were all well-cooked, hearty, and vibrant with spices. I also liked the milder veggie options.”
For more visit lulasethiopiancuisine.co.uk.