Posted: 10 Oct 2013

On the hunt for Melbourne’s
best African restaurants

Abderazzaq Noor  Somali KitchenRich, spicy and always satisfying, African cuisine in Melbourne is as varied and fascinating as it’s homeland. So where are the best places to try it?

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.

1. Safari Restaurant

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.

2. The Abyssinian

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.

3. Nyala

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).

4. African Village Kitchen

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.

5. African Taste

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.

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