A Melbourne based writer who is a travel junkie, dedicated foodie and emerging photographer.
Published August 6th 2014
Try Ethiopian 'Crumpet Bread'
Melbourne is very fortunate to have a diversity of dining experiences at its doorstep. A visit to Footscray can transport you to a wealth of cultures from various countries. It can be like going on a holiday without leaving your home city!
And so it was when we visited Ras Dashen Ethiopian Restaurant Cafe, located at 121 Nicholson Street, Footscray. It really did feel like we'd been transported to a remote part of Africa. In fact, the restaurant takes its name from the highest mountain in Ethiopia; at 4550 metres, Ras Dashen is the tenth highest mountain in Africa.
You'll feel like you've been transported to downtown Addis Ababa when you visit Ras Dashen!
Service was relaxed in Ras Dashen, as was the atmosphere. The lighting is quite low. Menus were provided after a short wait, and we selected a couple of Ethiopian beers with very pretty labels - they were St George beers, brewed in Addis Ababa. They actually tasted pretty good - and I'm not much of a beer drinker!
St George - the Ethiopian beer with the pretty label
When it came to selecting food, we decided to leave it to our waitress to choose some dishes for us. We were presented with a chicken wat (spicy stew) ($10), beef tibs (meat stewed with onion and vegetables) ($12), a small green salad, a bowl of rice and some rolled up flat breads. I haven't tasted anything like this bread outside of this restaurant. Called 'injera', it has the consistency of a crumpet. It's traditionally made with teff, a species of lovegrass native to the northern Ethiopian Highlands. It's been billed as 'the next super food', so one can take comfort from that fact as one munches on this slightly chewy bread, which is traditionally used as both a plate and instead of cutlery, to scoop up the food.
The food is served on a big platter placed in the middle of the table, perfect for sharing. We enjoyed the food, which was packed with flavour and spicy goodness. The beef was a little chewy but still, overall, it was an enjoyable dish.
The food is presented on a large platter
All the food is inexpensive. Main courses are standardly $10 each. Our total bill came to $37, including three Ethiopian beers.
Don't expect dessert if you visit Ras Dashen, however! We were advised that desserts are not offered, as 'they're not part of Ethiopian culture'.
Schedule a visit to Ras Dashen for the experience, a reasonably priced and tasty meal, and a casual, relaxed atmosphere. Ras Dashen is open Monday - Thursday: 12 noon - 9pm, and Friday - Sunday: 12 noon - 10pm.