Sunday, 7 June 2009

Made in Africa

For ages and ages I was wanting to visit one of the numerous African restaurants popping up around Moorooka. Top of my list was Made in Africa, an Ethiopian restaurant/cafe.

The food which I ate in Ethiopia was some of the best in Africa. On our travels south through Egypt and Sudan we'd been warned that Ethiopia was going to be hard work, and that we weren't going to like it. Unfortunately that led us to have fairly low expectations for the country. Luckily that turned out to be completely wrong, and I found it to be one of the most interesting and amazing countries in the whole of Africa. The churches at Lalibela (see the photo) are some of the most memorable sights I've seen anywhere in the world - they were carved into rock in about the 12th century.

Food was a big part of the experience. We were lucky enough to eat at plenty of local cafes in the 3 weeks or so that we spent in Ethiopia. It's nice to go to a country where the concept of a tourist restaurant doesn't really exist. Almost every town (no matter how small or remote) had an amazing cake shop, that would also usually serve a range of fresh juices. The avocado "juice" was particularly popular with our travel group, because it was so thick you could spread it on your bread for lunch. Other food that I loved was ful (a thick paste made from mashed fava beans), tibs (tiny pieces of chopped meat often served with chilli) and their excellent coffee, which is served in a traditional ceremony, sometimes involving popcorn. We were also amazed to find excellent pizzas in Addis Ababa. Mussolini marched some troops into Ethiopia in 1936 - fortunately they surrendered during World War II, but there is still a lingering Italian influence in the country (including Ethiopian wine).

I'll spare you from my great memories of Ethiopia, other than to say I was really looking forward to our trip to Made in Africa.

Made in Africa is a fairly sparse looking cafe at the back of the Ranchhold Arcade on Beaudesert Road. Our group was the only occupant of the restaurant on the night of our visit, but we were greeted like old friends by the staff.

The dinner menu is pretty short. There are two appetizers and 11 mains. At least that makes it easy to choose what you'll be eating.

The starters are sambusa (pastry shells filled with lentils, onions, green peppers and herbs - $4.50) or meat sambusa (beef seasoned with spiced butter and mitmit, in a pastry roll - $5.50).

We skipped the starters, and went straight to the mains. As we had a big group, we adventurously ordered one of each of the meat main courses, together with a couple of vegetable dishes.

The main courses are served on a large platter covered with injera. Injera is a spongy bread, made from teff flour. To eat the main meals you tear off a piece of the injera, grab a bit of the food and pop it in your mouth. Cutlery is completely unnecessary. Because everyone is eating off one or two big trays, it's a really social way to eat. I really noticed that we all talked more about the food, just because we were all eating off the same huge platter.

Our mains were:

Tibes Wot - diced beef/lamb sauteed in herbed butter sauce, seasoned with onions, green pepper and rosemary ($12)

Keye Wot - beef simmered in a red pepper sauce seasoned with garlic & cardamom ($10)

Kifto - minced beef seasoned with herbed butter sauce and hot chilli ($12)

Gomen be Sega - sauteed beef, spinach, onions and peppers, spiced with peppercorns and cardamom ($12)

Gomen Wat - greens boiled with garlic and onions ($10)

Shiro Wot - split pea stew ($10)

Yakakilt Wat - green cabbage, carrot, potato, green pepper and onions sauteed in garlic, ginger & tomatoes ($10.50)

Lentil Stew ($9.50) - fairly self explanatory.

My favourite dishes were the kifto, which had a good chilli kick, and the gomen wot, which was a delicious, tasty serve of greens. Each of the mains were very distinctive, which meant we all kept grazing until there was nothing left (including injera).

Made in Africa is byo, so we happily drank a few bottles of wine and beer as the meal went along. There were no wine coolers for the table, but the staff will be happy to keep your drinks cool in their fridge.

Made in Africa is also sells Ethiopian food and coffee, if you'd like to keep the experience going at home.

I can't imagine that too many people in Brisbane have tried Ethiopian food, so if you're looking for something genuinely different for your next dinner, jump on the next bus to Moorooka and grab a table at Made in Africa. I've been back again since this visit, and enjoyed the food just as much the second time. My friends love it too, so it's never hard to round up a dinner party. Sure, the restaurant is fairly basic looking, but you're here for the food remember (James Street - take note).

Made in Africa is also extremely good value for money, so frequent visits won't damage your bank balance. Dinner for eight of us was about $90. Why bother with tasteless fast food, when you can have Ethiopian?

What does all this mean? Tasty, distinctive Ethiopian food, with genuinely friendly service.

food bling ratings
Food - Great
Service - Great
Ambience - Pretty basic
Value for Money - Top shelf
Wine - BYO
Vegetarian - Great

Made in Africa
Shop 8-9 Ranchold Arcade
197-201 Beaudesert Road
Moorooka 4105
P - 07 3848 6759
W -

Made in Africa on Urbanspoon


Sarah said...

Sounds great, thanks for the review :)

food bling, Brisbane said...

Thanks Sarah - it's one of my favourite spots at the moment, and my friends love it. You'll have to give it a try

Warwick said...

Tried this joint on the weekend, thanks for the tip. Went with eight other folks and cannot recommend it enough especially in a nice big group!

food bling, Brisbane said...

Glad you enjoyed it Warwick. With 9 people you can pretty much order one of everything on the menu - makes for a great dinner.

Eatout said...

Have you tried MuOoz yet? In Moorooka, not far from Made in Africa - They have a coffee pouring ceremony Fri and Sat nights :-)- It is Eritrean cuisine and is great!

food bling, Brisbane said...

Nope I haven't made it to MuOoz yet, but I am really keen to taste the food there. I had some Eritrean food for lunch at the African festival, so would love to try a bit more.

Tom N-S Technical Blog said...

Thanks for the review, heading there tomorrow night.


Long dark hair, blue eyes said...

went here tonight for dinner and it was excellent. Thanks for the tip!

food bling, Brisbane said...

Glad you enjoyed it. I wish there were more cheap restaurants around Brisbane that were as good as Made in Africa.

Emma said...

We went here last night, - fantastic! We spent some time in Ethiopia a couple of years ago and looked forward to enjoying the food again - we weren't disappointed. Thanks for the tip.

Justin Chan said...

Thanks for such a nice sharing . me and my friend were fond of such a nice tip. thanks

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