New Somali Kitchen, 284 Racecourse Road, Flemington. Phone: 8589 7631
There are a handful of African establishments on Racecourse Road, one of our favourite food destinations.
But mostly they seem content to keep themselves to themselves and their communities.
New Somali Kitchen – located in what for many years the strip’s charcoal chicken stalwart and, more recently, a short-lived burger joint – presents a more welcoming mien.
It’s done out in white tiles and dark wood and looks a treat.
Oddly enough, on my two visits so far, my fellow customers have been overwhelmingly from the Somali community!
I’ve found the service to be prompt and good.
The menu (see below) is admirably tight and very affordably priced.
A plate of warm salad ($13) I see being scooted off to another table inspires me to order likewise.
Initially, I am taken aback that mine is not drizzled atop with bright, white yogurt dressing and the advertised pine nuts seem in very short supply.
But this is still very nice – the dressing is mixed throughout; there’s a heap of chopped, crunchy, roasted almonds; and the many leaves are fresh as.
The lamb – in the form of a many charred chunks – is a delight.
It’s tender and close to being free of gristle or bone.
But the main game in mains at New Somali Kitchen – and the dish I’m guessing is ordered by at least half the clientele – is the NSK Classic ($10, $13).
This is the cheaper version – and a very good meal it iso.
The cooked-in-stock rice is marvellous and the fiery green chilli sauce is a piquant flavour hit.
The lamb is good – a bit on the gnarly side but nothing that anyone familiar with this kind of food is going to find unusual or unusually challenging.
Sadly, the accompanying lamb broth is unavailable for me this time around.
New Somali Kitchen sports a nifty line-up of very cheap and wonderful sides such as sambusa, meatballs and these gorgeous and tasty bajeya – an African version of the eternal falafel ($4 for three pieces) made with black eye peas.
Unlike many African eateries, New Somali Kitchen boasts a short list of house-made desserts – and they’re all good and well priced.
This cinnamon and cardamom cake ($4) is moister than it appears may be the case and anointed with yogurt.
The “mango & yogurt dessert” and “Somali Affogato” (both $5) are equally enjoyable.
See Nat Stockley’s review here.