Manyahelishal Abate Opens Loti Restaurant & Bar In Mekanisa Area
Manyahelishal Abate (fondly called Manie) was born and raised in Ethiopia. Her childhood yields fond memories of eating with family members and appreciation of natural and organic food. In her twenties, she went to the United States on a USAID scholarship and studied nutrition and marketing at the University of Arizona in the mid-1970s.Upon her return home, she teamed up with Peace Corps volunteers and established the first catering training institute with the initiatives of Ato Habteselassie Tafesse, the man who is popularly known as father of“Ethiopian tourism”. She then worked for the marketing services Ethiopian airlines for about twenty years, especially taking care of the catering department to all destination. She had also lived for two years in Abidjan, moving with her late husband who worked for the African Development Bank, an experience that has familiarized her to West African cuisines.
Today Manie is one of the few entrepreneurs to own a stake in the city’s burgeoning business of fine dining. Her restaurant, Loti is named after an ornamental jewellery worn by hunters as a trophy, which Manie says “indicates the Ethiopian traditional legacy of respect and hospitality and the name given in memory of those hunters of the old days.” For the proprietress, the key to her success was setting herself the goal of providing service that aims at excellence and her background in catering business has been an invaluable asset. “I knew there was a gap in the market here in Addis. I decided to open a restaurant that caters to local and international clients. I wanted to keep a certain standard. I brought French and Senegalese chefs temporarily so that they would train my staff,” says Manie who initially opened the restaurant in Wello Sefer area ten years ago. Now the restaurant has relocated to Mekanisa Vatican Embassy neighbourhood. “It is working very well. That is a good way of knowing you are doing something right. People keep coming to our restaurant.”.
The restaurant has made quite a reputation for its setting and tranquillity. It has a lovely ambiance, with the interior that has a cosy, intimate feel and the walls decorated with pressed leaves, dried flowers and artsy plates. The welcome and service are friendly. The menu includes an array of fish such as tilapia, Nile perch assay, or beef fillet with Béarnaise sauce, orCoeur de filet au poivre. A popular weekend brunch adds the likes of African cuisines such as Yassa style fish with jasmine rice and seasoned vegetable or Sukuma wiki Ugali with chicken. For occasions such as Thanksgiving Day, the restaurant serves turkey with dressing.
Desserts such as pumpkin pie with a vanilla ice cream and a chocolate mousse with powerfully minty ice cream and crème caramel are popular. Crackers containing barely, Teff, finger millet, oats, legumes and oilseeds are usually served to diners as part of the complimentary hors d’oevre. Showcasing an impressive selection of French, South African and local wines and serving great wine by the glass from large-format bottles are the trademarks of Loti. A decade on and Manie says her restaurant has become regular recipients of praise from food critics. Arabella Stewart of “What is out”, Addis’s food guide reports: “professional and courteous service (sometimes two waitress at one table) enhances the dining experience and ambience of this top class bistro.”