Ok ... here's another post that has been sitting in draft for donkey's!! I've been meaning to crow about Safari for quite some time now, ever since reading about the restaurant on Lauren's still wonderful blog. This is apparently typical Somalian cuisine but I won't pretend to be a culinary expert on the Horn of Africa. What I can say is that this is simple yet complex fare served with generosity of spirit without pretension.
For $32 you can opt for the Mandy rice for Two (read for four more like) and you can pick and choose to your hearts content between Grilled Fish, Lamb Chop, Lamb Suqaar (diced lamb) or Grilled chicken served with Rice or Spaghetti, or you can split the diff and have a combination still at the same price!!
The Mandy rice comes to the table in a 20" aluminium pan just full up of rice and your chosen meat, along with uncooked carrots and capsicum simply dressed and salad leaves garlanding the edges of the pan. Be warned, you will get full just looking at the dish, even without having taken your first bite.
Everything is sauced and flavoured just so. The best way for me to descibe this cuisine is probably going to upset some quarters, but its almost like a western take on a combination of Indian and Middle Eastern food. There's the merest hint of spices, the rice is close to Biryani and I suspect they all have the same source and there is a tinge of french salad dressing to the veg.
The chilli sauce is the real deal. Its pungent and tart and hits the light high chilli notes, but also heads straight down the gullet to the base tummy rumble notes. If I knew how to make this chilli sauce, I'd be opening a stand already.
In addition, you get a bowl of the yummiest Lamb broth this side of a Sup Kambing. They generally serve this to you at the start, although on a recent visit, the lamb broth was only ready by the end of our meal, and it was actually a great digestive finish.
For liquid libation, you can help yourself to water, but they also serve you a bottle of Vimto, which kind of tastes like Ribena cordial. Apparently this drink is made up of grapes, blackcurrants, raspberries and a host of herbs although the end result doesn't taste that complex. Its refreshing though and is something unusual which I like.
Although we no longer live up the road from Union Road, this is still close enough to becoming a regular lazy friday night dinner venue of choice. Its comforting, hearty food, and its a nice way to end a week, and a great way to start a weekend. And I think that is the best recommendation I can give.