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That Old African Feeling

There’s a fairly large African community in Newtown, though I hardly see Africans out and about, I know this because there are 3 African restaurants and 2 hair dressers and grocer’s that service the African community within a 4 km radius.

On Friday and Saturday nights, the restaurants in Newtown spring to life with belly dancing in the Lebanese, Turkish and otherwise Arabic restaurants, African drumming in African restaurants, and presumably other attractions in restaurants of more demure cultures.

When we went to African Feeling (one of the three, with Cafe Lat Dior and Kilimanjaro being the other two African cuisine locales) it was 9 pm on Saturday and we had missed the African drumming.  This may have been fortunate and I’m seeing reviews online saying that the drumming gets so loud that the enjoyment of food is noticeably diminished.

For entrees, we went on a food safari and ordered the appetiser plate with kpoff kpoff, which was like plain fried donuts, African cigars, which was spicy minced beef wrapped in flaky dough and the vegetarian triangles, which had spiced lentils with herbs wrapped in pastry.  The entrees were delicious as anything encased in dough would be.  They were nothing special or unique.  Every culture has its version of the quintessential ‘curry puff’.

For the main we had the chicken breast in coconut sauce “kuku na nazi” and the ‘lamb tangine’, which was the Moroccan spiced lamb stew with raisins. These dishes were served in wooden bowls and the portions were generous.  The spices took away from the flavour of the meat and the way they were prepared we couldn’t even tell the lamb apart from the chicken.

The service was friendly and attentive.  It was disappointing that we couldn’t sample the karkadeh, the traditional hibiscus drink of the African continent as they’d run out.  Also missing on the menu was injerah, the flat bread of Ethiopia.  Injerah is a yeast-risen flatbread with a unique, slightly spongy texture. Traditionally made out of teff (a species of lovegrass indigenous to Northern Africa) flour.

African Feeling gets 4 stars out of a possible 5 for the whole experience.

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About NewtownLiving

I live in Newtown. I love Inner West. But I can love other neighbourhoods as well.

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