In my mini quest to try new food this year, I went to Little Africa because I had never tried African cuisine before. The food was a little different to what I was used to, but it was not completely foreign in taste to me either. There was an earthy ambience to the place which created an atmosphere that was quiet, laid back and quite relaxing. The restaurant is small and displayed across one side of the wall variety of pans, gourds and hand woven plates.
Lamb Zighini: Cubes of lamb slowly cooked in rick berbere sauce, with mixed spices and clarified butter $18.00
My friend thought that the dice lamb was a lot like the Indian lam rogan josh dish. The berbere is a spice made from a combination of ingredients such as chilli pepers, garlic, giner, basil, korarima, rue, ajwain or radhuni, nigella and fenugreek which is common to Ethiopian cuisine. Many spices are of variety which I am not familiar with, but they gave the sauce quite an interesting taste with a bit of a kick.
Vegetarian Combination $20.00
The vegetarian combination platter was really nice. There was such a large variety of little different components to the dish which included a lentil stew, chickpea stew, mashed beans cooked in ghee butter and tomatoes, pumpkin cubes in berebere sauce, cabbage and carrot in tumeric and a fresh selection of mixed salad leaves. All the vegetable curry and stews tasted amazing. I wasn’t a fan of the cube of pumpkin and the large chunks of vegetables on their own.
The crepe-like wrap for which everything was served on was very different to what I had expected. It actually had a crepe like consistently but most surprising of all (in a bad way) was that it was actually sour. It would have been so much nicer if it was slightly savoury.
My overall impression of the food at Little Africa was that it was a lot like Indian food in some ways, but without some of the strong flavours you get from the combination of spices used in Indian cooking. The vegetable stews and curries were really nice, but they were the only thing that made it good. Everything else just fell a little flat on me.