Ethiopian restaurants in Sydney are few and far between but that makes Aaboll Cafe even more of a treasure, tucked in amongst the multicultural hubbub that is Merrylands. Walk past the cafe set-up out the front and step through to a rear dining room splashed with colour. The cheeriness of decor is matched by a warm and cheerful reception from staff, happy to lead any newcomers through their comprehensive Ethiopian menu.
Wall mural backdrop against the set-up for an Ethiopian coffee ceremony
Order individual dishes or get a combination platter for a taste of several dishes. A clear demarcation between vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes makes ordering easy for non-meat eaters. Many practising Ethiopian Orthodox observe regular fasting days where only vegan food is allowed.
Raw minced beef tossed with hot chilli, cardamom and herb infused butter
One of my favourite Ethiopian dishes is kitfo, a raw minced beef dish that feels like an African take on steak tartare. It's an extraordinarily large serving here, the minced beef mixed through chilli, spices and cardamon butter. The beef can be cooked lightly if you prefer.
Injera, chilli pepper and ayib cottage cheese served with the kitfo raw beef mince
The kitfo is eaten with injera, a sourdough flatbread that looks like a spongy pancake. Unravel the neat little scroll and use it to scoop up a little beef mince, some ayib - a fresh housemade cottage cheese - and a pinch of chilli pepper. It's a terrific combo.
Meat combination platter $18
Three meat and two vegetarian dishes
Ethiopian cuisine centres around injera. It's eaten daily in Ethiopia, made from a fermented batter of teff flour. The thin batter is smooth on one side and bubbled on the other, a little like a soft crumpet. Meat stews, cooked vegetables and salads are often piled across the top. Injera acts as both a plate and spoon, soaking up all the residual juices so the "plate" itself can be eaten.
Pan fried lamb strips with onion, tomatoes and herbs
Our meat combination platter provides a scoop each of three different meat dishes plus two vegetarian dishes. Lamb tibs is a classic Ethiopian dish, cubed lamb pan-fried with tomatoes, onion and chilli.
Kye sega wot
Tender beef simmered in herb infused butter with chilli, spices and paprika
The slight sourness of the injera provides a welcomed counterbalance to the spiced curies. Sure you could use cutlery but using your fingers is so much more fun. We pinch bits of meat and vegetables between the soft crepe. The kye sega wot, a slow-simmered beef is especially tender, and flavoured with a complex layering of chilli and spices.
Beef with collard greens
Gomen be-sega is a comfort food dish of beef, onion and garlic cooked with collard greens. If there's a tastier way to eat your greens, let me know.
Carrot, potatoes and string beans
Break up the protein overload with mouthfuls of atkelet, a jumble of carrot batons, string beans and slices of potato tinged yellow with tumeric. A side scoop of dressed garden salad fulfils all your vitamin needs.
It's worth stopping in on weekdays for breakfast too. Morning options include feefer, a special dish of injera mixed with a beef or chicken spicy sauce, cooked fava beans and chechebsa, a flat bread served with herbed butter, paprika and honey.
140 Merrylands Road, Merrylands, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 8840 9076
Monday to Friday 7am-9pm
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8/29/2016 02:05:00 am