Mu’ooz, the long-time fave Eritrean restaurant of Moorooka, has upped roots and moved into a quaint Queenslander in West End.
Occupying the spacious tiled ground floor with courtyards out front and back, and African baskets, paintings and knick-knacks dotted around, Mu’ooz (which means tasty and healthy) serves the same delicious Eritrean/Ethiopian menu that made it a Moorooka institution, including traditional Ethiopian coffee ceremonies on Friday and Saturday nights.
Food here is customarily designed to eat with by freshly washed hand, using injera (thick sour pancake-like bread) to mop up the flavoursome stews that characterize Eritrean cuisine, (though cutlery is readily available).
Diners get to feast on a whole range of vegetarian and non-vego specialties such as beef or chicken Zighini ( spicy curry flavoured with berbere, onion, tomato, garlic and tasame), Qulwa (lamb cubes sauteed in tasame, red onion, herbs, garlic and green chillies) or Alicha (mild tasty vegetarian stew flavoured with turmeric, ginger and herbs).
Other options include the popular Mbisi (locally sourced goat slowly cooked with onion, garlic, capsicum, chilli and herbs) or Brusn (red lentils stewed with tomato and Eritrean spices).
To accompany are fresh salads like the Gu’E S’Nigh – fresh green chillis filled with tomato and red onion salsa – and Kitcha Fit Fit – a traditional dish of crumbled enjera (bread)cooked with tasame (clarified and herbed butter )and berbere (hot pepper seasoning).
Meanwhile starters include traditional dips with injera and spring rolls while signature dessert is the Busbusa (semolina cake served warm with ice-cream).
In keeping with Eritrean tradition where dining is a communal sharing experience, it’s recommended that diners take the platter option, with a choice of 3 dishes served on a platter for 2, 4 for 3 people and so forth, up to a maximum of 6 dishes.
Also recommended for first-timers or easy decision-making are the banquets, which are for a min of 2 people and, with entrees and dessert included, range from $33 to $44 pp.
And if possible don’t miss the opportunity to partake in the colourful post-dinner coffee ceremony on Fri/Sat nights, when a staff member in traditional dress roasts Ethiopian coffee beans over a little stove then filters and boils them up before serving in tiny cups. Until you’ve tasted coffee prepared like this you haven’t tasted coffee - and better have somewhere to go afterwards as sleep isn’t an option.
Need to know: Having been colonized by Italy from the 1890s to the 1940s there’s a touch of Italian to the food, with pasta including lasagne, Italian style salad and panna cotta making it onto the menu.
Mu’Ooz is not just a great place to eat but it is a not-for-profit outfit headed by founder and director Saba Abraham, and provides ongoing employment training and work for African refugee women.
Takeaway and great lunch specials are also available.
54 Mollison St