Just a quick blog entry today, unfortunately with no prices or official menu descriptions as I forgot to take photos of the menu and this little neighborhood joint doesn’t really have much of an online presence.
Tired of the usual overpriced pub lunch we normally go for (the only eatery within walking distance of the office), my colleagues and I travelled a little further and had a slightly longer lunch at African Taste Cafe & Bar in Seddon on my last visit to Melbourne. Its claim is as a purveyor of Ethiopian cuisine – however, they’ve adapted to Australian palates and offer a few items on the menu that you probably wouldn’t find at a more traditional Ethiopian restaurant.
We started off with some Sambusa to share – an Ethiopian version of a samosa, using thin crispy filo pastry. From memory, they have both beef and vegetarian options available, both equally as well spiced and more-ish.
I was a big fan of the Crumbed Cauliflower. The cauliflower had been lightly steamed prior to battering and frying, and still retained a nice fresh crunch. The batter was really nicely herbed as well, and managed to avoid the pitfalls of being overly oily. You could almost fool yourself into thinking that you were eating healthily!
My colleague Julie ordered a really interesting Spinach and Ricotta dish, which was apparently cooked in clarified butter, and comes served with little rolls of injera bread on the corners of the plate. It was gorgeously presented, and Julie could hardly bear to break the perfect little pyramid apart. It proved to be remarkably creamy and filling, though Julie quickly ran out of injera bread and had to borrow some of mine to finish off her dish.
My colleagues Fiona and Julia ordered the same dish – a Chicken Enchilada with a Side Salad. It’s dishes like this that make you cock your head and wonder how authentically Ethiopian it actually is – aren’t enchiladas nominally Mexican in origin? Semantics aside, the dish was incredibly delicious – the soft gooey baked cheese of the enchilada was simply to die for, and I kept stealing little bites of Fiona’s dish.
I opted for the Spicy Fish Tibes, which came with an enormous basket of injera bread on the side. The small pieces of fish fillet were soft and tender, and the chopped herbed sauce was equal parts tangy and spicy. Sopped up with the injera bread, the sauce was simply heavenly. The dish was a tad on the oily side with a definite shiny top layer on the plate, but extremely enjoyable nonetheless.
African Taste was a really nice change of pace for a workday lunch, and much more enjoyable than the usual pub lunch. It’s not quite as good as my personal favourite Melbourne-based African restaurant (Gibe African in Dandenong(read my review) or even Konjo Ethiopian in nearby Footscray (read my review)), but you know that you’ll get good food at a good price ($12-$18 for a main). We’ll probably be back for another work day lunch!