Gabbi Briner | On 27, Apr 2014
A three-day week sandwiched between two lazy long weekends calls for something daring and new. I spontaneously decided to interrupt my strict TV-in-bed regimen with a new genre of cuisine that I never tried beforeâ€¦ Eritrean!
In case you didnâ€™t know, there are a small handful of Eritrean restaurants around town, particularly in West End and Moorooka.
I picked Muooz.Â Muooz means ‘tasty and healthy’ in Eritrean.
It isn’t just a restaurant – it is a not-for-profit venture, aimed at providing work experience, training and employment opportunities for African refugees. 70 African refugees have benefitted from Muooz’s training scheme, 97% of which are still employed.
The restaurant is on Mollison Street in West End, filling out a kooky little Queenslander. The walls are covered in Eritrean and Ethiopian art and motifs, exuding an authentic Eritrean vibe.
It had me feeling (at the risk of sounding remarkably ignorant) that I was nuzzling into the bosom of a warm Eritrean mother.
The open plan seating lets you choose whether you sit out the front, inside or out the back. We chose the secluded area out the back.
A friendly waitress decked out in traditional Eritrean dress greeted â€˜nâ€™ seated us. She was also helpful when we were confronted with dishes called â€œQuwla.â€
In the end, we chose the “Shiro” (ground chickpeas with oil and peppers) and the “Quwla” (lamb cubes sautÃ©ed with capsicum, tomato and garlic). All meals come with salad and Enjera, a traditional bread. The Enjera is pictured on the menu and closely resembles Indian naâ€™an, taking our salivation to a whole other level.
After a lengthy wait of 30 minutes (which was irritating as we were one of the two groups in the restaurant when ordering), we got our food.
The Enjera was actually a spongy, salty mass. Perhaps if we didnâ€™t convince ourselves that we were getting crispy, garlicky naâ€™an the Enjera would have been less of a disappointment.
The Quwla was nice, yet was no more special than Grandmaâ€™s casserole that you love to hate.Â The Shiro came with one green chilli and a small pile of ground chickpeas instead of the stuffed peppers I had envisaged.
On top of this disappointment, the meals werenâ€™t reasonably priced at $20+ a main. Although you are supporting an important cause, it’s not my idea of a cheap â€˜nâ€™ cheerful outing.
Perhaps when you visit Muooz, go with an open mind and a doshed-up bank account. Who knows â€“ maybe you may go cross-eyed for Cjose or krazy for Kantisha. It is a unique experience that I recommend you try for yourself.
What: Muooz Eritrean Restaurant and Catering
When:Â 12:00-3:00 pm, 5:30-9:30 pm
Where:Â 54 Mollison St, West End QLD 4101
Contact:Â (07) 3844 8378