It surprises some people how many restaurants I haven’t been to, given my love for food. Especially along Albany Hwy, since it’s close by my house! AS and I had a hard time choosing between 2 places for dinner, but she hadn’t tried Echye’s Restaurant either and had been meaning to so we (finally) made an executive decision to go here.
Echye’s Restaurant, run by a small family (I think), serves up traditional African cuisine. There’s quite a few items on the menu pasted at the door, and we decided we’d try the platter to get a taste of everything. Alas, plans had to change because that menu wasn’t effective on our visit and we were given a smaller menu instead.
Worry not though, for we still had some difficulty deciding haha.
Upon ordering, we were given a small appetizer consisting of black lentil salad and bread. The salad was nice, and piqued our appetites with some spices, and touches of vinegar, red onions and tomatoes. Definitely something I would order (the main size is on the menu as a salad option). The bread was interesting – soft and fluffy, but slightly sweet. It was like focaccia but not quite.
AS doesn’t eat a lot of red meat, but the chicken option didn’t entice her so we ordered the lamb stew (zhigni, $20). This came hot and bubbling in a traditional pot. It was delicious! The spices were abundant, and the lamb was very tender, clearly having been braised/slow-cooked for a long time. I only wish the chunks were larger because they were chopped quite small. AS quite liked it, which means the meat wasn’t too gamey.
We decided to order a vegetarian main – this was an option of 3 of the vegetarian dishes and you can choose whichever ones you want (Hiwuswas, $18). The spiced lentils (Tumtumo) were amazing. It’s like really thick dahl, but with different spices. I found this a bit too salty though. The vegetables (fasolia) were ok – I don’t mind soggy vegetables sometimes but I imagine some people may not like this if they like their vegetables more on the crunchy side. There were capsicums, beans, carrots and potatoes in this. The chickpeas (shiro) were ground so there were no whole chickpeas to chew on. This was a bit similar to the lentils though the spices were less potent. For some reason, it just wasn’t as fragrant but I still enjoyed it.
Accompanying our food is the enjira bread which uses fermentation in its production. Due to this, there’s actually a sour taste to it, which the waitress mentioned whilst taking our orders. I actually really like this – it’s fluffy and the soaks up the sauces so so well! AS and I both liked how the sourness of the injira paired well with the main dishes, and their saltiness was tempered slightly with it.
It may not look like much, but this meal was extremely filling. AS and I loved the flavours in the dishes, but they were something that really “wow-ed” us. Whilst it’s worth a try, the prices are on the high side for a casual dinner out and we’re not sure if we would return. Nevertheless, it was still great to try a new place AND be able to eat with our hands, just like in Sri Lanka!
On the way to dinner, I mentioned to AS that I had never tried Taro Taro before. I’m a bit of a Asian desserts and bubble tea snob so I have quite high standards for them, and really only go to a handful of stores that I know do them well. So, she was adamant on going there for dessert, despite our bursting stomachs!
After a difficult time deciding what we wanted, we finally chose to try the new matcha ice special which had matcha snow ice, red beans, matcha icecream and cream all over it.
Unfortunately, this was not very good. The ice most definitely is not on par with Icey Ice – it’s too compacted and the matcha isn’t blended in well. I’m not lactose-intolerant but I don’t like pure cream much, so having it poured all over the top was a bit unfortunate. The icecream was good though – dense and smooth but I would like more matcha taste. The red beans tasted like the usual packet ones and we very gluggy and sweet, but added some much needed flavour to the slightly bland ice.
Definitely not something I would try again, I’ll be sticking to Icey Ice! The only thing I’d consider from here is the Icecream delight because the matcha icecream wasn’t too bad and they also have taro icecream!
After a long day at uni and work for us, this was a really nice night off, despite our list of 1000 things to do. Always nice to catch up with AS for a chat!
Thanks for reading! ^^