Khartoum Centre Restaurant & Cafe, 143-145 Nicholson St, Footscray. Phone: 0452 639 329
Sometime soon after an early CTS story on Khartoum Centre, we stopped considering the place as an eats option.
This was largely due to service that was genial but disconcertingly haphazard and a confusing menu that was difficult to navigate in terms of options and prices.
That’s all changed.
The place has been given a makeover, the food choices and their prices are clearly laid out in a big back-lit menu behind the serving counter, and there is a reassuringly routine process for ordering, receiving and paying.
This is great!
Because while this eatery is nominally Sudanese, the menu ranges across quite a broad spectrum.
This is illustrated by the fact that much of the menu is available in alternates based on injera, Lebanese bread, spaghetti or rice.
And the super grilled-meat-with-rice dishes are very similar to those to be had at Sunshine’s hot new kebab spot.
This diverse approach and a more user-friendly experience mean CTS is likely to use Kartoum Centre as a playground in coming months.
There’s one dish here that is clearly the most popular – at lunchtime anyway.
Foul is delicious, nutritious, dirt cheap and at Kartoum Centre comes in configurations that range from plain to the more ritzy that include extra vegetables, salad and so on.
A complementary bowl of lamb broth with chunks of aromatics is nice enough but plain as can be and defiantly under-seasoned.
Ordering lamb curry ($12) in African restaurant may appear to be folly.
But I’m so comfortably secure with the level of food here that I’m happy to give it a go – on the basis that it will be good and that this Footscray curry will bear little or no resemblance to a West Footscray curry.
I’m certainly correct on the latter count – no orthodox curry is this.
The tomato-based gravy seems to be seasoned with little more than salt and pepper. And certainly not with any of the spices we routinely think of as being curry.
But as for being good goes, I’m dead wrong – it’s very, very good!
All is richness and deep flavour, with the lamb pieces – some of them on the bone – ultra-tender and the fat easily discarded.
Forget curry – this is more like a fantastic stew or goulash.
With heaps on injera and good salad bits on the side, it’s a winner.