The Abyssinian | Hofbrauhaus
We’re all very familiar with what’s termed as ‘Modern Australian’ food, which (depending on the chef) can be amazing but sometimes also annoyingly meh. But this year, I’ve also been pretty keen on branching out into different cuisines for a change. This post will cover my experiences with Ethiopian and German food.
277 Racecourse Road
Kensington, VIC 3011
03 9376 8754
Having heard about my interest in trying new things, Ees decided to ask me along to The Abyssinian, a place that he and Little Death have always wanted to visit. The little restaurant sits along busy busy Racecourse Rd in Flemington. But on entering, you’ll find yourself in a quieter, hut-like desert ‘oasis’ with straw roofing, dark wood tables and African handicrafts lining the walls.
Chef’s Platter – A Chef’s choice mixed platter selected out from the main dishes served on a bed of Injera, a feast of spices and flavours to satisfy the most exigent food lover. (Meat, Vegetarian, Poultry & Fish)
The dishes on the menu were pretty unfamiliar to us. But thankfully, they’ve created an easy option – the chef’s platter, allowing you to try bits of many main dishes from the menu without stressing over which one to choose. The non-vegetarian version costs $48 for two persons and $23 for each additional person. Clockwise from the right at 3 o’clock position, we have chicken, green lentils, goat on-the-bone, red lentils, lamb, fava beans, fish, pumpkin and a small island of salad in the middle.
It’s fascinating that the food’s all scooped onto the platter lined with the injera that’s meant to be your carb component. You slowly peel the fluffy injera (with your fingers) and eat your way from the outer edges into the centre of the platter, past hillocks and splashes of food and sauce. It was a veritable feast of the senses… where you’re literally touching your food up-close. But here’s a tip: wash your hands before tucking in!
I’ve not eaten Ethiopian/African food often at all, so do not have much point of comparison and am at loss with describing its flavours. But let me just say that we enjoyed what we had, although my companions baulked a little seeing chunks goat spine on the platter.
With hearty winter appetites, we got an extra serve of injeras (which we promptly demolished). It appears I’ve grown to love eating injeras… their soft resilient-fluffy texture and pleasing tanginess has won my heart over. All that said, it would’ve been even lovelier if the injeras here were served warm.
In the end, we did a pretty good job with finishing our platter! As you can see… Ees, Little Death and myself are carnivores true and true, where the only ‘islands’ of food that we left behind were the lentils and beans.
The Abyssinian was quite a food adventure for us. It’s like a good re-introduction to Ethiopian cuisine, gently beckoning you to discover more. I’ve now added more African places on my radar that I’d like to eventually try, including a Sudanese place!
24 Market Lane
Melbourne, VIC 3000
03 9663 3361
That same week, I also explored food that couldn’t be more different from The Abyssinian —> Hearty Germanic fare in the CBD! My workmate, Roen (aka Mr Big Appetite - he demolished a 1kg steak at Steer Bar & Grill!), wanted to dine there. We arranged for a catch-up dinner with Fakegf on a Wednesday night.
On a completely unrelated note, The Angmoh recently caught Fakegf laughing in her sleep. It turned out she was dreaming that she and myself were jumping together on a trampoline (for no reason whatsoever). She then dreamt that I jumped wrongly, bounced sideways and went SPLAT into a wall! Ha ha ha… I think we’re suffering from not brunching together enough, to the point where somebody’s dreaming utter utter nonsense! =D
Arcobräu Zwicklbier $7.50 | HB Schwarze Weisse $7.50 | Arcobräu Weissbier $12.00
Brezel $4.50 – Freshly baked Bavarian Pretzel served with Butter
Hofbrauhaus is located right opposite Shoya in Market Lane, and one of the big pull factor for this place is its wide selection of good German beers. Of course Mr Big Appetite got the largest glass. He also wanted a Bavarian pretzel with our drinks, which arrived toasty warm and was a delight to tear and teeth into.
Goulasch Suppe $12.50 – Spicy rich Beef stew soup, served with Bavarian bread roll
It was difficult to predict portion sizes here, so we got this entree-sized goulash, which turned out not that necessary (you’ll see why in the next photo). I committed a photographer’s booboo and spilt the soup whilst taking it from the waiter. The boo-spilled goulash was hearty and rich, but a bit too salty for me.
HB Platte $89 – HB Sharing Platter with a selection of Pork Knuckle, Sausages, Schnitzels, Sauerkraut, Red Cabbage, Mashed Potatoes, Potato Dumplings and Beer jus
Once again, unfamiliar menus leads us into getting the sharing/chefs platter, but my jaw nearly fell to my lap when this platter (meant for two persons) arrived. This… my friends, is well and truly a feast of meat meat Meat Meat MEAT!!
The feature item was a giant, fatty piece of roast pork knuckle… crisp on the outside and blushing pink on the inside. The platter also had large serves of schnitzels, Weisswurst sausages, pork belly, potato dumplings, rissoles, a lot of sauerkraut, cooked red cabbage and what’s probably one kilo of mashed potatoes! This platter for two was probably more suited to groups of either 4 Fatboos, 5 Fakegfs or 3 Mr Big Appetites.
The three of us ate ate and ate, but at last we were defeated. Even (Mr Big Appetite) Roen had to stop eating. Overall, it was very meaty, stodgy fare that’s geared for the wholly carnivorous palate. Not really food that’d I crave for… and for me, interesting to try, but once was enough.
All that said, Roen seemed to have enjoyed this meal. And when I spoke about this meal at Hofbrauhaus a few days later, Little Death (who’s of German descent) commented that this kind of fare is his comfort food… food that his mom would cook at home. So it all comes down to the foods that we grew up eating that decides whether it’s comforting to us or not.
But we’ll end this post with my (Asian) version of comfort food. At a cosy get together on Friday night, where Bunnee and friends held a Sichuan-style (yuan yang) hot pot. Such comforting fare for the cold cold month of July. The thing I like best about hot pots is the sense of camaraderie of eating together around a central bubbling pot of goodness.