Home Town Sudanese And African Cuisine, 231 Hampshire Road, Sunshine. Phone: 9364 8154
Sunshine has long been a favoured hunting ground with us.
Home Town is, as far as we are aware, only Sunshine’s second African restaurant and is of Sudanese nature, as opposed to the more familiar Ethiopian of Footscray town.
Based on enjoyable experiences at Ascot Vale’s Safari, another Westie winner, that’s right fine by us!
Bennie and I arrive in a good mood for a rendezvous with our good pal Nat Stockley, enjoy our meals and also talking with the Home Town crew about their food and eatery afterwards.
The team includes Shafie, his wife Nora, mum Maryam and Juma.
We find their welcome and service also very enjoyable.
All three of us order meals that are of the stew or braise variety, which means we miss out on major aspects of Home Town thing – ranging from foul presented in different ways to pasta and meats grilled and served with rice and salad.
Most meals cost in the $10 to $12 range, with spiced prawns and the Khartoum mixed grill topping $20.
Our bain marie meals are barely warm, but we don’t let that get in the way of our eating pleasure.
Nat enjoys his meaty, handsome lamb shank, while the serve of okra stew he gets on the side taste real good to me.
The rice that accompanies all three of our selections is quite different from that served at Safari – it’s turmeric-tinged but still studded with cardamoms.
The salady aspects are pretty good, too, fresh and crunchy.
Bennie orders malokhia, named after the vegetable of same name.
He loves the lamb chunks, rice and salad, but is rather less enamoured of the gravy’s viscous, okra-like consistency.
One man’s delight is another boy’s slime, I guess!
I order chicken curry fully expecting it will no more be like an Indian curry than the lamb “curry” recently enjoyed at a Footscray eatery with similar food – Khartoum Centre.
In truth, it IS somewhat like an Indian chicken curry but still boasts a distinctive African flavour.
This is achieved, Juma tells me, by combining a commercial butter chicken sauce with dill, peanut butter, onion and capsicum, salt and pepper.
I like it, and like my two companions I pretty much clean my plate of the sticky gravy.
The use of a commercial, pre-made sauce sparked an interesting conversation when Nat posted a pic of our meal on Facebook.
One of his friends opined that such a move was somewhat “iffy”.
I understand where she is coming from, but OTOH I’m not going to get hung up on notions of authenticity.
As I pointed out, without condensed milk there would be little by way of Indian sweets, the Vietnamese have long made French baguettes part of their cooking traditions, and the Thais – so I’m told – make frequent use of pre-made curry sauces.
I get two dips with my meal – a rather stodgy and bland hummous and lemony, tangy mix of grated vegetables and yogurt that is wonderful.
Somewhere along the way, Bennie has requested injera.
No injera here, he’s told, but they do have kissra – the Sudanese equivalent.
It’s very similar but thinner than injera, house-made and really fine.
As already stated, it could be that in ordering the dishes we have, we may have missed a big part of what Home Town is all about.
Its arrival is of sufficient import for us, that we’ll happily do follow-up story on their BBQ goodies and the likes of foul or pasta.