Messer’s Ethiopian Restaurant a place of plenty
Right in the heart of Central, Port Elizabeth, amid the hustle and bustle of the inner city, a remarkable lady called Messer has created a beautiful haven of delectable delights.
Messer was born and grew up in Addis Ababa. She serves her customers a range of authentic Ethiopian cuisines. The most popular dish is known as kitfo – a type of marinated minced meat, served either raw or rare, along with a mild and crumbly cottage cheese.
Another popular dish is called mahberawi, or the “mix it meal”. Messer prepares a variety of vegetable and spicy meat dishes, combining and beautifully arranging them atop a large fermented flatbread called injera.
“Original injera is made from Teff, a cereal that grows in Ethiopia,” explains Messer. “It has a brownish colour. But because teff is not available here, I make my injera from rice flour. That’s why it has more of a white colour.”
The rice flour is mixed with a number of other ingredients and is left for three or four days to ferment. This results in an incredibly soft texture of the flatbread, and a slightly sour taste.
“We have a vegetarian meal, for those who don’t eat meat,” continues Messer. “We have a vegan meal. And all our meat is Halaal.”
Her restaurant also serves an exotic Ethiopian coffee. The coffee beans, imported from their native land, are roasted and ground right here in her restaurant.
But it is not so much the food itself that makes Messer’s restaurant so outstanding. It’s the spirit of generosity with which she serves each and every customer.
“Everyone must be full. That’s the thing I have to be sure of.”
Messer intentionally serves her customers large portions of food. Some customers complain that she serves them too much food. “But I always give more,” she insists. “If someone is not full, then I bring more. At no extra charge.”
And how much does Messer charge for these generous meals? Just R40 per person (less than US$ 3).
Messer came to South Africa in 2002, and was attracted to Nelson Mandela Bay. She settled in Port Elizabeth in 2009 and is a mother of two adorable children – aged 9 and 4.
Messer dedicates all her time and energy to serving people. “I love cooking,” she says. “It’s my passion. And I love being of service to people.”
A place of beauty and plenty, Messer’s Ethiopian Restaurant can be found at 17 Rose Street, Central, Port Elizabeth.
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