An Ethiopian restaurant offering an entirely gluten-free menu has opened on Brunswick Street in Fitzroy.

Saba’s Ethiopian Restaurant is the brainchild of Ethiopian Australian entrepreneur, Saba Alemayoh, who was born in Sudan and immigrated to Australia 16 years ago.

Serving the authentic cuisine of the Tigray region, Saba’s Ethiopian Restaurant is a collection of meat, vegetarian and vegan stews flavoured with the signature Ethiopian berbere spice blend. The menu is designed to be shared, with the stews presented on platters lined with the fermented flatbread injera.

“I began importing teff flour in 2014 to make it more accessible to Australians. My younger sister has coeliac disease so as well as using teff flour for injera we’ve grown up with it as a substitute for regular flour in various dishes,” Alemayoh said.

While Alemayoh oversees the restaurant’s front of house operation, her mother, Tekebash Gebre, is the creative influence in the kitchen.

“My mother has always been known to friends and family as a fantastic Ethiopian cook. Now she has the platform to share her cooking with people from all over Melbourne,” Alemayoh said.

Guests can expect the interior of Saba’s Ethiopian Restaurant to pay homage to Ethiopian culture, boasting colourful mesob tables and a collage of handmade sefe baskets decorating the walls, some of which were crafted by Alemayoh’s relatives.

A traditional Ethiopian coffee ceremony is conducted on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 1pm. The ceremony can take up to two hours and involves the roasting and grinding of coffee beans, which are then boiled with hot water in a jebena and served in small cups (finjal), which are refilled three times over the course of the afternoon.

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