The Blue Nile

625 Head St, tel: 475-NILE, dinner 5-9pm closed Mondays

The rumours are not true, The Blue Nile, does indeed have a liquor license - pheww! It was a bit of a drive out to Esquimalt to visit The Blue Nile, and the prospect of having to forego a cool, refreshing beverage on the other end was a little scary.

With friends Debbie and Greg in hand we journeyed to the understated location in asmall strip mall. What it lacks in external beauty it makes up for with heavy interior decor. Rustic and personalized-looking African decoration, with thematic music playing at a reasonable volume. It's got a lot of character. Our host greeted us quickly and sat us at a large table in the window (which, Debbie soon noted, gave an excellent view of people coming and going from the tanning salon next door). A selection of fresh juices were presented to us, and yes, finally the beer. We went for an import South African beer. Apparently, they also have a Kenyan beer available, but not that day. It wasn't anything exciting, but was a point for discussion. The rest of the liquor selection was pretty limited, I'd plan to drink beer or juice.

The a la carte menu posted on the internet was not available - instead only the buffet ($10.95) laid before us. No biggee - since everything on the menu is on the buffet. The buffet, I will note, was steaming like crazy and all the dishes were very hot - nice and foodsafe for those of us who are wary of buffets. I've never seen so many different presentations of lentils, as well as a couple of stewed vegetables and a chicken dish. This is pretty basic food and presentation, but it was tasty and we all went back for seconds. My favourite part of Ethiopian food is the injira bread, of which there was plenty. I've tried to make it at home, but it's always a failure because I can't get the correct flour. Our server/owner answered my questions about the preparation of the bread and told me that the grain used to make the flour is only sold as a health supplement in BC and is not available as 'food.' all comes clear.

It didn't take us too long to eat and drink enough to wish we were all at home on our respective sofas, rubbing our bellies - the price of any good buffet. Happily, in the end, the fullness subsided and I was left with a pleasant feeling of a good meal. The booze menu could use some work - clearly, not their thing, a little more drinking would bump up their sales numbers. The food is good and the ambiance comfortable.


reviewed 22, 2007