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Getting to know what's wat... richly flavoured Ethiopian dishes

Ethiopian food was missing from the Irish culinary landscape for many years, until Mel Roddy brought his native cuisine to a new Dublin pop-up. Katy McGuinness has the scoop on these simple yet richly flavoured dishes. Photography by Frank McGrath

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Ethiopian eats: Susie Roddy at the Gursha pop-up. Photo: Frank McGrath

Ethiopian eats: Susie Roddy at the Gursha pop-up. Photo: Frank McGrath

Traditional Ethiopian stew Doro Wat. Photo: Frank McGrath

Traditional Ethiopian stew Doro Wat. Photo: Frank McGrath

Owner Mel Roddy

Owner Mel Roddy

Gomen - boiled greens with garlic

Gomen - boiled greens with garlic

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Ethiopian eats: Susie Roddy at the Gursha pop-up. Photo: Frank McGrath

I'm sitting with my daughter in the Cloud Café on Dublin's North Strand, looking at a large round platter on which small portions of beguilingly fragrant food are arranged on top of a spongy, pancake-like bread. None of the dishes are familiar to us.

As a restaurant critic, I'm lucky enough to have eaten in many of Ireland's best restaurants, and my holidays are often food-driven, with meals planned months in advance. But I've never tried Ethiopian food before, and I'm wondering how it works as there appears to be no cutlery. Mel Roddy, whose Gursha (the word translates as 'mouthful') pop-up this is, has presented us with a basket of more of the spongy, mushroom-coloured bread (it's called injera, he tells us), instructed us to use it as our knife and fork, and left us to get on with it.

A few minutes later and our inhibitions have been parked. We're scooping happily - albeit inexpertly, if the smears of food across our faces and the splodges of sauce on the white tablecloth are anything to go by - as we work our way through the array of dishes.


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