Review of 'Hamer Restaurant'

I have always enjoyed Ethiopian food ever since I first had it when I lived in Winnipeg at Massawa Restaurant in Osborne Village. It is an unusual dining experience with the menu focus frequently on vegetarian dishes but it is also the eating itself that is different with the dishes piled onto a large (sour) pancake in the middle of the table that is then eaten with the hands by using torn off pieces of a pancake held between the thumb and forefinger. I have always found the food delicious and interesting.

We are lucky to live near to Shepherd's Bush in London which is home to several Ethiopian restaurants including Flamingo Restaurant Bar and Cafe which we visited when we first moved to the area back in 2012 but ever since then we have passed by other restaurants on the bus, wanting to give them a go as well. A few days ago we finally made this come true with a visit to the rather understated “Hamer Restaurant” which is located on Goldhawk Road where it meets with Hammersmith Grove. Every time we pass by the place is busy with people that look like they have come from Ethiopia (or the area) so it has really intrigued - What is so good about it that it keeps people coming back?

First off, Hamer only accepts cash which, in my opinion, is a good thing as it indicates it is a small, local restaurant who often tend to provide good value and home-cooking. The interior is simple but warm and welcoming. After coming off the street on a Wednesday evening between Christmas and New Years the place was hopping and immediately felt comfortable. There were no odd looks at us as we were shown to a table up a few stairs to the dining area. There were a good number of people present with very few tables actually free so we settled in to browse through the menu which had few options but most were unfamiliar to us.


My companion wanted to try some “Ethiopian Beer” from the menu but we were told this was not available so she had to make due with a Stella instead while I had the “Tea” (£1.50) marked simply as such on the drinks page. This turned out to be a Chai-like tea coming in a tall glass with a small bowl of sugar that I proceeded to spoon into the drink (as everyone else was doing) and, to increase the flavour, briefly soaking another tea bag provided for this purpose. Very nice.

The simple menu is divided into “Starters & Side Dishes” (“Starters”, “Side Dishes” and “Vegetarian Dishes”), “Mains” (“Beef Dishes”, “Lamb Dishes”, “Chicken Dishes”, “Fish Dishes”, and “Hamer Special”), and “Beverages” (“Hot Beverages”, “Cold Beverages”, “Beers”, “Spirits” and “Wines”). As we have not a clue as to what we were doing we chose to have the “Hamer Mehaberawi #2” (£38 for two people) from the “Hamer Special” section as it featured a good selection of vegetable and meat options. Which? Well…

  • Yebeg Wot - “Cubes of lean beef prepared in a chilli powered (Berbere) based stew”
  • Doro Wat - “Tender chicken slow cooked to perfection in a spicy (Berbere) based stew”
  • Lega Tibs - “Cubes of lean lamb cooked well with onion, garlic and traditional spices”
  • Gomen B'Sega - “Cubed lamb cooked with spinach in traditional herbs & spices”
  • Dereq Tibs - “Cubes of lean lamb cooked until dark and crispy with onions & green chilli”

It also allowed us to select three vegetarian side dishes so we picked:

  • Misir Wot - “Lentils cooked in a delicious spicy sauce with onions, garlic and olive oil”
  • Ater Wot - “Yellow lentils cooked in a mild turmeric based sauce”
  • Fosoliya B'Carrot - “Seasoned whole French green beans & sliced carrots cooked with onion & olive oil”

About 10 minutes after ordering, our drinks arrived then another 10 minutes later our meal arrived suitably presented: A large metal platter covered with a layer of sour pancakes, another plater with a series of bowls containing the various dishes that were then poured onto the large plater, and a small plate of four additional, rolled, pancakes. Two piles of homemade cottage cheese (no, not my favourite) were placed on the platter as well.


Yes, it was quite enormous considering this was meant for two people! The highlights for us were several: “Yebeg Wot” had delicious cubes of slightly chewy beef simply cooked with spices, “Misir Wot” was nicely spicy and tasting, and “Fosoliya B'Carrot” was also wonderfully fresh adding a bit of cooling to the often fairly hot (spicy) food. For the rest, it was all quite nice with each dish tasting quite different than the next though they all seemed to blend into one when look at the platter.


We managed to get through most of the food though there was about half of the large platter pancake left though we did manage to eat some of that as the food had soaked into it though much of it was quite oily.

The total for our meal came to £45 (including drinks and a modest tip added by ourselves) which was quite reasonable even if you look at the sheer quantity but in this case the quality was amazing with each dish very flavoursome though generally on the spicy side. The waiter was very helpful and modestly friendly, explaining patiently what each dish was as it was placed on the platter. The ambiance was a bit busy and frenetic which caused the pace of service to somewhat suffer but generally a wonderful experience that we would happily repeat.

Takeaway is offered and Hamer is also on Just Eat for delivery.

Rating: “Really good but I have some issues”

Review Date: 2021-12-29

Cuisine: Ethiopian

Address: 92 Goldhawk Rd, London W12 8HD ENGLAND

Public Transport: TUBE Goldhawk Road

Location: London (England) - Shepherd's Bush



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Telephone: +44 (0) 20 3489 6118