Recently, to celebrate a friend getting older and wiser, we had a meal at an Ethiopian restaurant located in Flemington, the Abyssinian.
The food is based on recipes from the Horn of Africa. The menu was rather long, so we took the easy option and ordered the meat combination platter. The platter comes with slow cooked stews: chicken, lamb, fish and vegetables, on a large enamel tray lined with injera bread. The cost is $25 for one person, $45 for two and then $22 for each additional person. There is also a wholly vegetarian platter.
Injera is a spongy, sour flatbread. Traditionally, it is made with a small round grain called teff. The flour is mixed with water and left to ferment for a few days, which gives it a slight sourness and an airy, bubbly texture. At the Abynissian, the bread is made with self raising rice and corn flours. You rip off a piece of injera, roll it around a bit of stew and eat.
We've been to a different Ethiopian restaurant before, and found that the injera was too sour for our tastes. The injera at the Abyssinian was much nicer – very soft and not too sour. However, the parts of the injera that sat under the stews soaked up the sauces and became too soggy to pick up. Thankfully, even though cutlery isn't traditional, we had also been given spoons, which helped us scoop up every last bit of stew and injera.
Dotted around the tray on the injera were several different stews. There were several diffferent vegetable stews: lentils cooked in a light sauce, cabbage and carrots, spinach and beans, and pumpkin. They were all pretty tasty. For the meat stews, we had some lovely tender goat, a rather spicy (and therefore awesome!) lamb, a chicken stew and the last was a mixture shrimp and nile perch in a slightly spicy and tangy sauce.
Being a little group of gluttons, we polished off the lot and really could have eaten more. There were five of us, and I think that if there had been one more person, we might've gotten another platter (I was eyeing up other tables to see what they got).
It was a good place to celebrate a birthday. The atmosphere is casual and lively, and the service is friendly, although a little sporadic.
277 Racecourse Road, Flemington
Phone: (03) 9376 8754