On the hunt for Melbourne’s
best African restaurants
Five of the Best asked Abderazzaq Noor (right), a Somali blogger who grew up in Tanzania and Kenya with parents who loved to cook. He now lives in Hallam and publishes a beautiful food blog, Somali Kitchen, with fellow Somali nomads living in Melbourne.
As part of this month’s Melbourne Festival, Abderazzaq and the Somali Kitchen crew will talk about and share their favourite food at a special event at Fitzroy’s Gertrude Contemporary on October 20 from 3-5pm. This is a free event and bookings are not necessary.
In the meantime, these are Abderazzaq’s favourite places to dine on African food in Melbourne.
159 Union Rd, Ascot Vale, 9372 7175
The portions in this Somali restaurant are massive. Many diners opt for the popular “federation” meal – a typical Somali meal that consists of spiced rice, meat, pasta and salad. Somali food is a meld of African, Arabian, Indian, Persian and Italian influences.
277 Racecourse Rd, Flemington, 9376 8754
If you want to experience Eritrean culture and food, then this is the place for you. The food is covered in traditional Eritrean straw hats and African artifacts decorate the walls. Various sauces, both meat and vegetarian, are served on fluffly injera, a fermented flat bread. Wash your hands and tuck in.
Level 1, 356 Brunswick St, Fitzroy, 9419 9128
The food is mostly Ethiopian with the usual injera flatbread and various condiments, but you can also order a delicious Kenyan style chicken in coconut sauce (kuku wa nazi), North African couscous and baboutie, a South African specialty made from mincemeat, fruit chutney and spices served on bread. I am particularly fond of gomen (freshly cooked silver beet and potatoes with garlic, ginger and other spices).
43 Walker St, Dandenong, 0404 330 432
This is probably the only west African restaurant in Melbourne. The mafe (beef with peanut sauce) served with cassava is a standout. The goat curry is also quite popular. Not fine dining, but the food is fantastic and unusual.
124 Victoria St, Seddon, 9687 0560
The food is mostly Ethiopian, but there are dishes from other parts of Africa. I loved the Genfo African Fufu – balls of toasted barley flour boiled with herbs, served with hot chilli and yoghurt. I also love the injera flat bread. The crumbed fried cauliflower entree and mulukhia (a gelatinous spinach based dish from Egypt and Sudan) are also yummy.