Salambo in Addis

Salambo discovering Ethiopia

Dashen Demolished

It happened. After months of uncertainty, the decision fell for Dashen restaurant to close down. The whole process didn’t take long, we had a goodbye lunch on a Sunday some three weeks ago and by the following Saturday half of the house was already gone. As I drove past it, it was reduced to four bare and broken walls just about standing still.

The remains of Dashen house

The remains of Dashen house

The closing of Dashen restaurant is symbolic of an end of an era in Addis. Built in the late 1950s under the reign of emperor Haile Selassié when Addis was going through a new phase of development as seat of the nascent African Union and Ethiopia was opening up to the World, it first was a school before becoming a restaurant during the Derg regime. At the time, the aristocratic family who owned the house had had all their assets confiscated by the marxist-socialist government known as the Derg, except for that one house. They ended up living upstairs while turning the downstairs area into a restaurant to secure themselves a source of income. For some thirty years, it was one of the best Ethiopian restaurants in town as well as a social gathering point where people would invariably meet. With the massive urban transformation under way in Addis, it no longer had a place in the centre of the city, now reserved for high-rise business buildings, so it was brutally erased from it. For me, Dashen was one of the very first Ethiopian restaurant I went to after moving to Ethiopia and one of the best I experienced in Addis. As my friendship with Manale and her family (the owners of Dashen) grew, it became my second home in Addis. So I was particularly touched to see it go.

Now the house is no longer, but the restaurant will re-open elsewhere in the Kasanchis area, on the way to the British Embassy. Tsege, the co-owner (together with her siblings) and manager, is in the process of refurbishing and re-organising the new space she has found for the new Dashen.



2 comments on “Dashen Demolished

  1. Beza
    October 20, 2015

    Where is the new Dashen Restaurant exactly?

    • Salambo
      October 23, 2015

      Hi Beza, the owners of Dashen told me that they will reopen in Kasanchis on the way to the Swedish school and not far from the current Grani di Pepe restaurant, it may already me open now….i’m not sure as I am not currently in Addis:)

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