PROFILED BY DE GROOTS MEDIA
During the daytime, Awash blends into the crowds of nearby Footscray Market; in the evening, its painted red interior shines out on a deserted Hopkins Street. Whatever the time of day, you'll enjoy the food and culture of this restaurant. Ethiopian food is social, so the larger the party the better. Remember, only bring your most adventurous friends. Spicy stews are served on large plates to be shared. There are no utensils, just injera to eat with. This sourdough fermented bread is spongy in texture and slightly sour in taste. The favours of the stews are spicy and the sense of celebration high as this festive mix of spices, meats and vegetarian dishes is brought to the table.
Order the doro wat – a chicken stew with hard boiled eggs to appreciate the spices of this cuisine. The chicken is heavily encrusted in a paste of berbere (sun-dried red chilli peppers and spices mixed with water and oil) and kebe (clarified butter with over 20 spices). Also try the Derek Tibs – dry pan-fried lamb and beef with onion, green pepper and rosemary. Yetsom beyaynetu is a vegetarian combination of ful, cooked beans with green chilli, onions and tomato, and atakilt (translates as vegetables), a wot made from potato, carrot, cabbage and turmeric. No dessert is offered. Finish your feast with the Ethiopian coffee ceremony.