Eritrean Restaurant in West End – More Than Just Tasty African Food, It’s an Enterprise for Refugees

On Mollison Street in West End, an extraordinary restaurant is bringing the colours and flavours of African food to Brisbane locals. But underneath the tasteful culinary experience, Mu’ooz Restaurant & Catering is empowering African women refugees in the city.

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Fittingly situated in the culturally diverse suburb of West End, Mu’ooz is a not-for-profit offering traditional Eritrean cuisine. The restaurant’s name is literally translated as ‘tasty and healthy’ in Tigrinya, the language of Eritrea and some parts of Ethiopia.

Mu’ooz serves traditional African food that’s best for sharing with family and friends.

All dishes are served with Enjera bread, a pancake-like sourdough that is a staple of the Eritrean diet. The eating experience involves tearing off a piece of enjera and wrapping in it a portion of food and eating the whole thing without using cutlery. Guests can, of course, request to use cutlery, but for the full African food experience, it is best to eat without them.

Mu’ooz menu

Remarkable Founder

Behind the success of the restaurant is a strong and remarkable woman who has spent a great part of her life fighting for the disadvantaged. Saba Abraham, a women’s rights activist in Eritrea, fled her home country due to war and for fear of persecution.

After moving from Sudan, Kenya and Egypt, she finally came to Australia in the early 1990s. She feels lucky to be living in a peaceful country that respects human rights. But at the same time, she feels guilt and sadness for losing loved ones due to the conflict in her home country.

Saba made it her purpose to assist other women refugees who are trying to fit in their new environment in Australia. That purpose is the very essence of Mu’ooz.

Get to know more Saba Abraham in this special documentary.

Social Enterprise

The restaurant is a social enterprise that provides African refugee women with jobs and traineeship to help them stand on their own. Most refugees come to the country with very little to zero education. They struggle to learn the language, making it difficult for them to find a job.

Through Mu’ooz, these refugees get a chance at finding the kind of life they wish to live in Australia. It becomes their training ground where they learn to speak English and transition to other areas of society.

10 Years of Mu’ooz

In 2018, Mu’ooz celebrates ten years of empowering African women refugees. Since 2008, it has employed and trained more than 160 women.

Photo credit: Mu’ooz Eritrean Restaurant & Catering/Facebook

To mark its 10th year, the restaurant is hosting an event called, An Evening in Africa – A Celebration of 10 Years of Mu’ooz.

The event is set on Friday 20 April 2018, from 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

The road to 10 years wasn’t all smooth-sailing. Economic downturns affected its operation and at one point it nearly closed sometime in 2015. Thanks to the volunteerism of its staff and board members, it managed to stay open up to present time.

This year, the restaurant hopes to further expand its traineeship by 20%. It is also pursuing engaging events that suit the interest of the community. Aside from the usual African cooking classes, it now offers vegan cooking classes in response to clamour from the vegan community.

African Cooking Classes – Mixed Dishes

African Cooking Classes – Vegan

There is so much to celebrate for the Eritrea restaurant, which has succeeded throughout the years through the dedication of its founder and its staff. It has become popular among locals, not only for its delicious food but also for its unique social endeavour.

Find out more about Mu’ooz by visiting their website at, or follow them on Facebook for updates.

Address: 54 Mollison Street, West End