Foodafric, 24 City Place, Sunshine. Phone: 0413 168 759
Foodafric is situated on City Place, just few doors from Dragon Express.
Like all the other African businesses hereabouts, it’s nature is West African.
The signage outside is subtitled “Flavours of African & South American Cuisine”, the latter part of that phrase referring to some former South American employees of the place – and thus those words are scheduled for removal to avoid confusion.
The West African aspect refers mostly to Nigeria but also to countries such as Liberia.
Today I am mostly restricted to the half-dozen or so stews arrayed in the bain marie at the front, but I am told a much more comprehensive menu is on the way.
Jollof rice is wonderful – of medium-high spiciness, semi-moist and laced with peas and onion.
The tomato-based stew that comes with it is sticky, good and has two biggish pieces of goat meat embedded in it.
They’re bone-free and quite tough – though nothing to phase me at all.
When Bennie and I had dropped by a few days previously to scope the place out, it was the sight of a customer’s serve of okra stew that had me vowing to return at the earliest possible opportunity.
After all, I’m ostensibly an okra fan and what I had seen looked just like a very good variation of gumbo.
However, the side serve of stew I am served with my meal doesn’t work for me at all.
Look, I know there’s a slime factor with okra – but this is SLIMEY! And fishy, too …
The staff member who has been serving me, Bukka, laughs when I tell her this, saying: “We like it that way … and the okra is fried so it becomes even more like that.”
She’s been patient and good-humoured in answering my questions, but is no doubt happy to hand that particular baton over to her boss, Nda, who also happens to be her brother.
He tells me his idea with the restaurant is to offer home-style Nigerian and West African cooking with a certain amount of tweaking, including with presentation, to make it more acceptable to Western palates.
He tells me that, yes, there is a certain kind of smoked fish, chopped finely, used in the okra stew and some of the place’s other dishes.
And he confirms the full menu should be up and running in a month or so.
Among the dishes and food on offer will be (links are to Wikipedia entries):
I’ve had a nice lunch, with one mis-step, but am happy to consider it research and a foretaste of more interesting things to come from this welcome and welcoming addition to the African options available in Melbourne’s western suburbs.