I'm quite adventurous with food and like to think I'm accepting of most cuisines and ingredients. I can't think of a single country's cuisine I don't enjoy at least on occasion and it takes a wide brain stretch to find flavours I don't like (I'm not a fan of liquorish but I'd still eat it).
One thing I can't say I've tried much of, or at all before this experience, is African cuisine. Africa is a huge continent with a great diversity of cultures so I won't blanket all the food in one. I found Mu'ooz in West End, next to Kafe Meze and it showcases Eritrean cuisine. Going into it, neither Marc or myself knew what this meant but we were very excited to find out.
As I mentioned, Mu'ooz is located in the central part of West End on Mollison Street. Like the neighboring restaurants, it takes up a charming old building and has both indoor seating and covered outside tables around the front. The restaurant isn't huge but it was a lot busier than I expected.
I had already spent ages pouring over the menu before we got there so I knew exactly what I wanted to order. Before we jumped onto the dinner menu though, we got our drinks sorted out.
Mu'ooz is thoroughly authentic in that you can even get African beers and wines. Marc sampled a couple of the beers on offer and I tried a glass of South African red wine.
The food menu contains an array of entrees and interesting curries. These are divided into vegetarian and non-vegetarian options. To simplify things, you can go with a banquet (minimum two people) or select a share platter, which allows you to pick a number of curries served with some enjera.
We opted for a two person share platter in which we got to choose three curries. Because I was out with Marc, a compulsive carnivore, we ordered 3 meat-containing curries. We also ordered the sambusa to start.
Sambusa sigha - crispy filo parcels filled with beef mince
Our entree arrived quite quickly. These were mince-filled pastry parcels, much like a samosa but imagine savoury beef mince in crunchy spring roll wrapper filling. I thought these were tasty but probably something I could have made at home. They came with a spicy pepper dip but as unauthentic as this may be, I think they would have been perfect with a yoghurt dip.
For our curries we wanted three quite different flavours with different meats. Without really knowing what we were ordering, it's amazing we managed to achieve that. The qulwa lamb was my favourite. This one was more of a stirfry than a curry because it didn't have a definite sauce. The lamb pieces were very tender though.
The soso chicken was most like a curry we would make at home. The chicken pieces contained bones which makes eating it interesting. Our last pick was the barai zighini, which is a traditional beef curry. This was probably the most flavoursome of the lot and maybe most in line with what I had in mind when I envisioned African food.
To scoop the curry up, we were given enjera, which is a sourdough flatbread. The bread has a soft and moist, almost crumpet-like texture. I quite liked this bread and tried to use it in the traditional, suggested manner which is to use the bread in place of cutlery to scoop up curry. If there's a way to perform this task with dignity, I don't know it. I got curry everrrrryyyywhheerreee.
Marc and I had an enjoyable and educational experience at Mu'ooz Restaurant. Service was friendly but frustrating at times when we felt forgotten about by the waitstaff and it was somehow just impossible to catch someone's eye to take our order (and I was trying VERY hard). The food was tasty but not as much to my personal liking as say, Indian curry or Thai curry. I could have done with a whole lot more pop and zing with the spices but having said that, it was still a lovely meal.