[Photographs: David Straight]
At last. Mount Roskill might have become an enclave for Ethiopians in recent years, but – possibly because many arrived here as refugees – until now there’s never been a restaurant. Believe me: I’ve looked. Then, the other day, a hopeful Google search threw up Cafe Abyssinia, and I got very excited indeed.
It’s worth the wait. You’ll find it in the Muslim district on Stoddard Road, down the back of a spacious arcade so new your shoes squeak on the tiles. It’s delightful, painted brightly in green, orange and red with a tasteful collection of Ethiopian handcrafts, loud Ethiopian music and a few old boys hanging about. It’s fun. The owner wore a Haile Selassie T-shirt and a gold earring: we said tell us what to eat, and he did.
And it was good. One of our favourite discoveries of 2012. We ordered up a mixed plate of stews and curries – they’re $15 for one, or they can give you a variety, and it comes with enjera, the classic Ethiopian unleavened bread, slightly sour, perfect for mopping up sauce. There is no cutlery. There was menchat abish, mince in a spicy sauce, and kitfo, Ethiopian beef tartare mixed with herbal butter which is very good. There is kai sega wot, stir-fried lamb pieces, and doro wot – chicken marinated with fresh lime juice and simmered with onions and berbere, a savoury, almost sour mixture of spices that is characteristic of this food. There was a vegetarian selection too. In short? Please go, please go often, please order a lot, and may there be many more restaurants like this one. SFG
HOURS 10am to 9pm, seven days.
ADDRESS 6/190 Stoddard Road, Mt Roskill, ph 620-5599. Find them on Facebook.
IMPORTANT DETAILS Service can be slow – they make everything to order. Go with plenty of time, and go hungry.