Friday, July 23, 2010

Guest Post - African Taste

I am here in the house where my husband was born.  Slightly weatherbeaten but proud homes line the street, which is utterly quiet, the silence broken only by a passing car.  Later on, evening will fall.  The cicadas will begin their deafening roar, and the smell of burgers on the grill will begin to drift enticingly through the neigbourhood.  Out on the porch, "bloody" in hand (Bloody Mary) - it is so peaceful here in the American Midwest.

As I will be here for a while, I put out the call recently for submissions to Footscray Food Blog, so that we could keep celebrating and sharing the food of our wonderful suburb and surrounds.  Eileen and Phil have very kindly and eloquently responded, with a review of one of their faves, African Taste in Seddon.  Thank you so much, and enjoy!

There’s a warm, humbling ambience when you walk into African Taste. The décor is basic but the friendly welcome from the café-bar owners – a big smile and recognition that we’ve eaten there on other occasions – is more like a homecoming.

African restaurants, predominantly Ethiopian, are dotted all over Footscray and they offer traditional cultural cuisine. African Taste is a great addition to the area. The food here is inspired by Chef Ben’s country of origin Ethiopia, but with a hint of difference - all dishes are a modern take on the traditional cuisine. For instance gnocchi, a well known Italian staple, is made here the African way using barley. The gnocchi are then pan fried and tossed through a creamy sauce, rich yet light, topped with natural yoghurt. You can have them just as described or with diced lamb, fish (Chef Ben’s favourite), or by request with ricotta and spinach - yum.

The African Enchilada is a revelation. A wicker covered ramekin holds tender pieces of chicken and torn pieces of flat bread, oven baked in a creamy, cheesy sauce. The flat bread soaks up the flavours of the dish and is a wonderful addition. This dish is a surprise and utter delight.

We accompany our two mains with an African Taste salad – a simple lettuce mix with tomato, cucumber and pieces of toasted pita bread tossed in a tangy lemon, oil and sumac dressing - simply delightful. The Harar Beer we order is perfectly refreshing and goes well with our meal. Wine is also available by the glass and bottle.

For dessert, we sample the baklava. It’s a delicately sweet ensemble of nuts, filo pastry and syrup - sublime. We devour this with coffee, served hot and strong to our liking. Ethiopians are well known for having pride in their coffee and this cup doesn’t let us down.

While in traditional Ethiopian culture it is custom to leave some food on your plate after finishing your meal, Ben prefers to see empty plates at African Taste. The food is so delicious here that we never have any problem clearing our plates, much to Ben’s appreciation.

Everything on the menu at African Taste, from the homemade chilli sauces to the luscious desserts, is delicately crafted by Ben, a professionally trained chef. It is clear from chatting with him and his wife Sunny that their café-bar is not just a business venture but a way of sharing a passion for good food, and it seems to come naturally to them.

Ben is often chatting to customers and you can see his passion for food in his broad smile and expressive hand gestures. It’s a pleasure to be able to chat with the chef, usually hidden in the kitchen, and to sample Ben’s lovingly made, wonderful culinary creations. A meal at African Taste is a memorable experience with beautifully cooked food and friendly service.

Thank you both so much!  I have not tried African Taste but am so excited to do so soon.  I do love all the traditional Ethiopian fare available in Footscray, but it is also exciting to find riffs on traditional themes.  When accompanied by delightful service, so much the better!

If you too would like to consider submitting a review, with or without photos, or even a recipe using an interesting, locally obtainable ingredient, I would be so appreciative.

I would like to leave you with a wonderful quote that Eileen and Phil had at the bottom of their email. 

"Be kinder than necessary, for everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle."

What lovely words to reflect on.

African Taste on Urbanspoon

African Taste
124 Victoria St, Seddon (map)
Phone: 9687 0560
Hours: Daily 10am-9pm, Friday/Saturday til 10pm


  1. I will have to try this one.... sounds a goodly experience

  2. Have eaten there a few times now and can't recommend it more highly. Ben's food is fantastic and extremely well presented.

    The prices are very reasonable but there is a $1.50 surcharge added after 7pm so it simply means you can have the same menu for lunch a little cheaper.

    Get along, you won't regret it.

  3. Hi Simon, thanks for stopping by and for the reaffirmation! Got to get down there soon. I like that you guys know the chef by name, he sounds lovely.

  4. African Taste is the best food I've eaten at a restaurant in years. Love it!


I love getting your comments! They're what make blogging worthwhile. Unfortunately, the amount of spam I get is obscene and it is so tiresome to have to moderate every comment, so I have had to turn on annoying word verification. I'm sorry for the inconvenience, but please know how much I love you having your say!

Related Posts with Thumbnails
Related Posts with Thumbnails