Rezah, 595 Sydney Rd, Brunswick. Phone: 9387 3730
Meet my new favourite things.
They’re aushak, they’re Afghani dumplings and they’re incredible.
I’ve ordered a half serve of them ($15), instead of one of the $20+ kebab mains, so I can get a taste of other bits of the menu at this lovely Afghani restaurant.
It’s a tactic to which I often resort when eating by myself, one that can often go wrong and worse.
But tonight I feel like a bleeding genius of ordering.
Encased in silky pillow casings, each of the dumplings is stuffed with splendidly vivid green sliced spring onion.
The distinctive bitter flavour of the onions goes absolutely divinely with the slightly sweet, slightly but just rightly chilli glow of the meat sauce and the minted yogurt around the fringes.
I can’t remember the last time I deliberately slowed my eating to linger over every mouthful.
But by the time I’m down to my last dumpling, it’s stone cold.
Yes, that good.
Accompanying my meal is a serve of toorshi ($3.50), described as “pickled vegetables in vinegar”.
These watery pickles, too, are just plain fantastic – mouth-puckering sour, there’s onion, cabbage, potato, chilli, cauliflower, cucumber, all of it soft to the point of mushiness but so fine.
Watery, sour and excellent, too, is the dip/chutney of “fresh tomato, coriander, garlic, fresh crushed green hot pepper” ($3.50) I order, which is joined by a regulation mint/yogurt raita, which I haven’t.
The aushak sauces, the dips and the pickles are all gleefully mopped up by nicely chewy fresh flat bread, which is like a cross between the Turkish and Lebanese varieties.
Rezah is decorated with Afghani artwork and photos, the service has been lovely and the food delivery as prompt as can be expected.
Frankly, I’m drooling at the thought of returning.
There’s plenty of meat on the menu (see below), including familiars such as tandoori chicken and various biryanis.
But there’s some points of difference, too, such as asheh lubia – homemade noodles with red kidney bean sauce and yogurt. Sounds pricey at $25, but you never know …