Abol Africa, 221 Barkly Street, Footscray. Phone: 7016 0886
We are three, we are headed for Footscray – and we are aiming to chow down on some ace Ethiopian tucker.
Ahhh, as it turns out, the restaurant we have in mind is unavailable to us.
So we do what we always do in such situations – we walk about half a block up the street and eat somewhere else.
It’s that easy – and ongoing testament to the sublime luxury of living so close to Footscray and a number of other westie suburbs with high food concentrations.
Actually, in this case, way more than mere yum and into realms of giddy delight.
It’s fair to say the Ethiopian we enjoy at Abol is as good as any we’ve consumed.
Abol African has been open about a month when we visit.
Boss man Abel tells me that prior to this he ran Jambo, just up the road apiece, for about seven years.
The menu at Abol African has a section devoted to fish dishes.
That aside, though, it is basically an out-and-out vegan place (see full menu below).
That’s fine by me – even if we’d paid more attention to the veg-inclined signage outside, I still would’ve insisted we eat here just out of curiosity.
And besides, it’s strongly embedded within me that on the occasion of countless previous Ethiopian meals, the meat dishes have been enjoyable but it’s been non-meat side things that has really been the heart and soul of the food.
The fare we enjoy at Abol Africa is emphatically in line with such ruminations.
It is spectacular.
We order one of four combo selections – the Hudade Special for two to three people at a cost $40 all up.
That turns out to be an extraordinary bargain!
One of the menu-listed dishes is missing from our platter, but we barely notice.
The rest are superbly cooked dishes, some familiar, some less so.
The lentil salad (azila), seen at centre, is zingy and brilliant.
The shiro wot (chick pea stew, far right) is a smooth delight.
The duba wot (pumpkin stew, far left) is fine, too, but me ‘n’ Bennie – being not pumpkin fans – mostly leave that to Veronica.
But it is all wonderful, all extremely delicious, with a highlight being the profoundly spuddy dinich wot (potato stew, top right).
And we get extra injera at no extra cost.
Before tucking into our main feast, we devour three sambusa ($3 each).
Again, these are state-of-the-art and as good as any we’ve experienced.
Crisp, ungreasy, beaut.
And, yes, despite the filling being an unmeaty mix of lentils, onion and spices.
Abel tells me he uses a mix of avocado, olive and mixed vegetable oils in his cooking.
Look, we love/enjoy a good old doro wot swimming in oil/butter as much as anybody.
But the Abol Africa cookinge leaves us with an equally profound sense of having eaten well and healthily.
Abol Africa is a pleasant, bright space to spend some time – and there is a fine-looking and tabled garden/outdoor section out back.