Try not to pop a vein Sydney, but Footscray, 10 minutes out of Melbourne’s CBD, is emerging as the most sought-after place for some of North Africa’s finest cuisine. In our search to find Australia’s best multicultural restaurants, we stumbled upon this enclave fast becoming known as the place to get your Ethiopian food fix.
Become familiar with the national injera, a sour-dough flat bread used instead of knives and forks to scoop up the rich curries and spicy stews. Often served in large communal bowls, Ethiopian food is best shared, and finished with a freshly ground Ethiopian coffee. With most mains hitting the 10-to-12 dollar mark, Greta Stonehouse discovers that dining this well has never been tastier value, finding these five culinary gems nestled around Footscray.
Ras Dashen – Smell the authentic Ethiopian coffee beans
If the online praise for Ras Dashen is anything to go by, this Ethiopian restaurant is an absolute gem. Special dishes are the spicey khey wat and the doro wat, both Ethiopian-style curries cooked in a rich onion base and infused with the traditional berbere spice mix. Also worth trying the Ethiopian coffee, described as something in between an Italian espresso and a Turkish coffee. 121 Nicholson Street, Footscray – 03 9687 3293
Dinknesh Lucy – For some home-made injera
Dinknesh Lucy is one of the only Ethiopian restaurants in Footscray to make its own injera. Special dishes are the zil-zil tibs, long strips of partly dried beef braised in spices, or the Bozena shiro, lamb served in a spiced chickpea flour gravy. 227 Barkly Street, Footscray – 0403 574 217
Addis Abeba – Good for special tibs
Dishes to try are the ‘special’ tibs, small chunks of tender lamb cooked with onion and green chillies and the vegetarian combination, five different curries atop a spongy injera. 226 Nicholson Street, Footscray – 03 9041 2994
African Taste – African fusion style
Just south of Footscray, try another style of African food, combining eastern and northern African with Sudanese flavours, at the African Taste Cafe. The signature dish is undoubtedly the Genfu African Fufu, like a gnocchi but made with toasted barley flour and served in a spicy creamy sauce – 124 Victoria Street, Seddon – 03 9687 0560
Café Lalibela –One of the oldest Ethiopian restaurants in Melbourne
Established in 1998, Café Lalibela is one of the oldest Ethiopian restaurants in Melbourne. Go for the traditional chicken wat, a smokey stew infused with berbere and garlic topped with a tender drumstick and a hard-boiled egg. For the ultimate feast pair this with an imported Ethiopian beer. 91 Irving Street Footscray – 03 9687 0300
MORE- OUR GUIDE TO MELBOURNE: And after your meal? Take a wander through Melbourne…