Sunday, 25 September 2016

Mesob Ethiopian Restaurant, Northcote

Today I dropped off Sylvia at my mum's after a swim and a very ordinary lunch at the pool.  E and I had a show and dinner planned for tonight.  We saw the brilliant and hilarious Sammy J in Hero Complex.   I have long been a fan of his humour and music but seeing his clippings from his childhood convinces me he must be a hoarder (or historian) which is yet another reason to love him.

In the show, Sammy J told an amazing story of his school gardener and love of Phantom comics, with great coincidences.  So I am happy to tell you about our own little coincidence in choosing a restaurant tonight.

After the show E had suggested we eat at a nearby Vietnamese  restaurant.  It was really full and noisy.  So we wandered along and saw there were seats in the Ethiopian restaurant.  Yet E had to check out the Mexican restaurant, which was closed.  Which presented us with the excellent option of Mesob Ethiopian restaurant.  E started with an Ethiopian beer called St George's beer, which he really enjoyed. I had a Bundaberg ginger beer.

To eat, we ordered the Herbivore Combination Platter which had a taste of each vegetarian dishes, injera bread and salad.  At $23 per person for a minimum of two people, it is great value.  It looked really beautiful and was a great introduction to Ethiopian food for us.  I was surprised at the injera being more sour than I expected.  I had feared that I would find Ethiopian too spicy but it was just a pleasant heat in my mouth by the end of the meal.


The dishes were mostly vegan.  Served on a big round of injera, they were (starting in the middle and then left to right on the bottom):
  • Shiro (in the middle): a creamy sauce of roasted chickpea flour and barbere sauce with kibbeh and spices.  I can see why the menu says this is Ehtiopian comfort food.  I could have eaten a lot more of this, if only I wasn't full as a state school from all the other dishes.
  • Gomen: collard green simmered in a vegetable brother with onions, garlic and ginger.  Nice but not my favourite.
  • Kik Alicha: split yellow lentils with traditional turmeric blend.  Really lovely.
  • Duba Wot: pumpkin cooked with caramelised red onion and barbere.  This is like a fancy mash and I loved it.
  • Yatakilt Alicha: potato, carrot and cabbage sauted with onions and garlic.  I really liked this though my mind kept playing tricks and telling me it was pineapple.
  • Kayser: beetroot and potato flavoured with ginger and garlic and a hint of olive oi.  I liked this but it was mostly beetroot and a bit more potato would have balanced it up nicely.
  • Miser Wot: red lentils cooked with barbere, garlic and ginger.  Another winning dish.

As novices at Ethiopian food, we were not game to eat with our hands.  When our waiter suggested that we eat with our hands, I was taken back to being offered food by our hosts after climbing a cliff in Turkey and being greeted with no cutlery and the suspicion that they were laughing at the ignorant foreigners.  At Mesob, our waiter was very gracious and talked to us about how to scoop up the dishes with the injera.  I think I need to have a large drop sheet under me to eat this way, like in that long ago hostel in Turkey.

I really loved the restaurant.  The staff were welcoming and friendly.  The space was warm with its wooden tables, woven light fittings and bright artwork on the walls.  By the end of our meal we were very full and satisfied.  Sadly, we could not fit in the injera with nutella and strawberries that tempted us on the specials board. Maybe on another visit.  I would love to return if the fates are kind enough to deliver us back to Northcote High Street on another evening!

Mesob Ethiopian Restaurant
213 High Street, Northcote
(03) 9489 6952
Open: Tues - Sun:  5.30-10pm

Mesob Ethiopian Restaurant And Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

14 comments:

  1. Ah I am so pleased that by chance you got to go to an Ethiopian eatery and eat the cuisine. I have come to love Ethiopian and Eritrean cuisine in recent years, lots thanks to asylum seekers and refugee volunteers in my workplace (as well as some cookbooks), #And indeed it is cuisine recommended to be eaten with the fingers. There is a hidden gem in the town I work that makes Ethiopian cuisine, I have been trying to convince a friend to accompany me to eat there as I am too shy to eat alone, so hopefully I will be able to share this gem. Mmm intrigued by the nutella in injera - may have to give this a go.

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    1. Thanks Shaheen - I thought of you with the ethiopian meal and how much you make - I think if I was with people who were using their fingers and I could watch them and get used to it I would try but E does not use his fingers for food if he can help it and I had a bad memory of the cliff climb many years ago. The sweet injera sounds good though the menu does say that ethiopian cuisine does not really do desserts!

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  2. You make each preparation very tempting! It's amazing how similar they are to the dishes at the Ethiopian restaurant in downtown Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA. Our restaurant offers either a vegetarian or a non-vegetarian platter with injera for scooping, which I've never had a problem doing. I don't think they actually use the Ethiopian grain, teff, for their injera, I think they use wheat. I wonder what your place does.

    Best... mae at maefood.blogspot.com

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    1. Thanks Mae - interesting to hear you have similar dishes in your local restaurant - am glad your food is so good too and wish I could be as easy with scooping with my hands. I think the menu said the injera was gf but would need to check

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  3. I love Ethiopian food and the injera bread is delicious. I also don't mind eating with my hands and it makes a lot of sense when eating Ethiopian food and scooping everything up :)

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    1. Thanks Lorraine - I think the sourness of the injera bread was a surprise but I could imagine getting used to it pretty quickly if I ate it more

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  4. I'm still quite a novice with Ethiopian food too so am always interested to see / read about it. It looks likes a lucky coincidence and a great meal!

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    1. Thanks Kari - it was great that the vietnamese was too full and the mexican shut so we went out of our comfort zone

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  5. I do love Ethiopian food, and I'm always on the look out for new places to try. I could eat injera by the bucketload. I'm particularly pleased to see that the staff were nice too - it really makes a difference to me if the people are friendly how likely I am to go back!

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    1. Thanks Joey - I felt like the amount of injera we were served was almost a bucketload - it was huge and neither of us got through it all - could have sent you some (ha ha) which reminds me that there was the Ethiopian famine when we were little and a joke about sending leftover food to Ethiopia - imagine if we had been able to send them leftover injera - they probably would have appreciated it if it kept in the mail :-)

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  6. Sounds like a great evening out, a fun date night =)
    I love Ethiopian food - but I do find it too spicy for me unfortunately. I also am not accustomed to eating food with my hands - it gets so messy.
    It looks like you got to try a good variety of things, I hope you make it back there to try the sweet dessert-like injera!

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    1. Thanks Kimmy - I was relieved that this food wasn't too spicy as I had heard it can be quite hot - perhaps I need to practice eating with my hands at home where I can get messy but I like you I prefer not to do it at a cafe.

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  7. This looks like a great meal, and seems you and E had a fun night out.

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    1. Thanks Cakelaw - yes really love night out

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