Afghan Star Restaurant, 251 Hampshire Road, Sunshine. Phone 0431 970 348
There are – I believe – three places serving the food of Afghanistan in Sunshine.
Amid the (mostly) Vietnamese hubub around Sunshine central and Hampshire Road, they are easy to miss – and Afghan Star is perhaps the most anonymous of them.
It looks, from the outside and inside both, like a humdrum takeaway joint of non-specific origins.
You can get a pizza here – with pineapple, if that’s your kind of thing.
The decor is utilitarian.
But after sporadic visits over the recent couple of years, I reckon it’s time for a CTS story.
Because I really do like this place.
And if the review visit – with Bennie Weir and Nat Stockley in tow – doesn’t quite reach the heights of my previous (solo) visits, I nevertheless remain enamoured of Afghan Star.
Here is less proper restaurant routine and more a place to grab some quick and very cheap Afghan food.
There’s a range of stews/curries called qorma. I’ve tried a couple of them; they’re good.
But really, the top action here is all about grilled meats.
But first let me note a couple of happy details – the sort of thing that tickles the CTS soul and makes us love places beyond the main gist of the food.
One is the wonderful fruit salad tablecloth with which we are blessed.
And, no, I am not being facetious.
The second is the stupendously wonderful flatbread – it’s hot, freshly made and enormous.
On each and every visit I have made to Afghan Star, I have taken at least half one of these home with me.
And if I order charcoal chicken, I end up taking some of that home, too.
Because a whole, excellent chook – with flatbread, some salady bits/pieces and a minty dipping sauce with a subtle yet important chilli kick – costs $14.99.
That’s a for-sure bargain!
The chicken is very, very good, best and most juicy/succulent on the bone, though inevitably a bit dry in the heart of the breast.
That’s what the minty sauce is for.
It’s a fine thing that there’s plenty of my chicken to go around, because Bennie is disappointed with his doner mix kebab platter ($10).
For starters, he doesn’t believe it accurately reflects the colour photo at the serving counter upon which he’s based his selection.
It’s OK – but amounts to HSP on a plate.
Much better – and returning to the heart of the Afghan Star matter – is Nat’s mix kebab platter, another $14.99 steal served on rice and with the same flatbread, salad and sauce.
The tikka/shish lamb meat is very tasty, though a tad on the dry/tough side. Just a tad …
The kobida/kofta minced lamb meat is much better – chewy and nicely (mildly) seasoned.
But really, these are minor quibbles – this kind of food/meat usually sells for more, and sometimes way more, than here.
Afghan Star gets the job done nicely and with smiling, efficient service – and all with a comprehensive lack of on-trend or hipster angles.
For that alone, I love it.