Safari Restaurant, 159 Union Rd, Ascot Vale. Phone: 9372 7175
It’s been far too long since we’ve sailed in the Safari – certainly at least since our early review of this fine Somalian eatery.
So long, in fact, we’re not even sure if it’ll be functioning as we remember on this Friday night with appetites inspired by some overdue winter outfitting.
The Consider The Sauce boys have been shopping and are hungry.
Happily, as we enter we discover everything is as we remember it. Indeed, the place seems busier than was the case on any of our previous visits.
The menu, however, seems to have been streamlined somewhat, but as we soon learn – to our complete and joyful satisfaction – the food is the same and just as good as ever.
We toy with idea of ordering Big Mandy Rice For Two ($32), but this is described to us in terms of being good for big fellas, very hungry.
So we back off and discover there’s a menu item just made for us – The Regular ($13).
This consists of a plate of Mandy Rice and your choice of lamb, beef, chicken steak or fish.
As on previous visits, our bowls of their incredible meat soup are brought before we’ve even placed our order proper.
This is a broth of lip-smacking sensations – spicy, heady with meatiness yet light on meat itself.
It’s simply wonderful.
Bennie’s chicken steak – hidden under a tasty array of grilled sautéed carrot, capsicum and onion – is more plentiful than it looks. The chicken meat is tending towards dryness but falls short enough of that to pass for tender, and has a wonderful charred-like flavour.
I like his chicken, he digs my lamb.
The sheep meat has form and structure yet is far from chewy and falls easily from the bones.
In both our cases, the rice is splendid – cooked in stock, spiced, every grain glistening.
As ever, our meals are helped along by long, tall glasses of freshly squeezed orange juice clinking with ice cubes.
Killer soup, terrific meat, sensational rice, just the right kind of vegetable accompaniment, freshly squeezed juice … $13.
This is a fantastic bargain.
The service here is friendly but efficient.
We can’t recommend Safari highly enough to anyone hankering for African eating a bit different from Footscray’s mostly Ethiopian fare.