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Monday, August 29, 2016

Aaboll Cafe, Merrylands

Injera, gomen be-sega, ky sega wot, atkelet and lamb tibs at Aaboll Cafe, Merrylands

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.

Ethiopian coffee set-up at Aaboll Cafe, Merrylands
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.

Kitfo raw minced beef at Ethiopian restaurant Aaboll Cafe, Merrylands
Kitfo $17
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 Ethiopian bread with ayib cottage cheese, chilli pepper and kitfo raw beef at Aaboll Cafe, Merrylands
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.

Injera, gomen be-sega, ky sega wot, atkelet and lamb tibs at Aaboll Cafe, Merrylands
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.

Ethiopian lamb tibs at Aaboll Cafe, Merrylands
Lamb tibs
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.

Ethiopian kye sega wot beef simmered in herb infused butter at Aaboll Cafe, Merrylands
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.

Ethiopian gomen be-sega beef with collard greens at Aaboll Cafe, Merrylands
Gomen be-sega
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.

Ethiopian atkelet carrot, potatoes and string beans at Aaboll Cafe, Merrylands
Atkelet 
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.

Aaboll Cafe Ethiopian restaurant in Merrylands Sydney


Aaboll Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Aaboll Cafe
140 Merrylands Road, Merrylands, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 8840 9076

Opening hours
Monday to Friday 7am-9pm
Saturday 12pm-9pm
Sunday 2pm-8.30pm


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posted by Helen (Grab Your Fork) on 8/29/2016 02:05:00 am


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