When I was forced onto a gluten and dairy free diet, by far my greatest food-grief was for African Taste’s Fufu (gnocchi), and the African Enchilada.
I had been totally addicted to the earthy flavour of the Fufu’s barley balls cooked in clarified butter and smothered in a rich ricotta and spinach sauce, and the oozy cheesiness of the enchiladas contrasting with the crispiness of the pita bread and slight crunch of the green beans and other veggies. Oh my goodness, how I miss them! So I think that’s why I’ve been avoiding dining at African Taste for a while – I didn’t want to trigger my grief. But my arm got twisted when my family decided they longed for African and African Taste is our clear favourite in the west for African food.
I had missed Sunni’s smiling face and bright welcome, and the unique interior of African Taste. I’m not really sure how to describe the restaurant’s style. It’s kind of homely looking, as if a house has been converted into a restaurant but some of the features of the house have been left behind (note for example the brightly coloured plastic strips that cover the door to the kitchen). It also has a touch of fancy with lotus flower light fittings.
This was our first time eating lunch at African Taste having been for dinner frequently. The separate lunch menu includes many of the dinner dishes and although not listed, you can have the fabulous enchiladas too.
There are a few vegetarian dishes to choose from including the filling African Taste salad with crispy pitta bread, the moorish cramped cauliflower, FuFu, and African Fasting Food which is certainly not something you would eat during a fast (see above). Gluten and dairy free are not marked on the menu but the lovely Sunni will walk you through the ingredients in the dishes. Since the traditional African recipe for injera (the pancake-like bread you can see we the fasting food above) does not contain gluten, I was very hopeful of being able to indulge in this speciality. However, similar to the story with masala dosas, African Taste’s injera is made with wheat flour by a local injera bakery. Apparently it’s too expensive to make injera to the traditional recipe in Australia. African Taste will substitute injera for rice in any of the dishes to make them gluten-free. They will also replace butter with oil to make dishes dairy-free.
Seafood features on the menu with the crispy fish salad being a favourite of mine prior to becoming gluten intolerant. My dad woofed this down so I assume that the fish is still crispy on the outside and perfectly flakey on the inside. For dinner, there is a glorious North African Seafood Rice dish that is full of white fish and prawns, and empty of gluten.
For the first time, I ordered the African Fuil with rice instead of pita bread, no feta and yes to tuna. It was described as an omelet with fava beans, tomatoes, onion and chilli paste. I had expected an omelet with all of the ingredients inside. Instead, I was pleased to find that my lunch had several separate elements each served in little bowls. This lunch ticked all the boxes for me – very filling, tasty and healthy. Three kinds of protein! The cooked tuna was served as a cold salad with tomato and herbs. The fava beans were served hot, refried and were mildly spicey. The omelet was simple and mixed well with the tuna in particular.