You'll find these top 10 African and Middle Eastern eateries throughout Adelaide and its surrounding suburbs.
BY TRAVELLER INSPIRE
From South Africa comes this colourful creation complete with a large fire pit in the kitchen to cook those “bush meats”. There’s no springbok or ostrich on the menu though, instead that fire pit could sizzle with South African spiral sausages called boerewors, wood roasted hearts, ash potatoes, whole fish, and peri-peri chicken.
Despite the heat of the kitchen, there’s a cool vibe in this busy place, which was styled by co-owner James Brown. Set yourself down on a bar stool, or in a sky-blue booth. Take in the vibrantly coloured walls, the reggae and African tunes, and the cocktail shaking.
Chef Duncan Welgemoed was born and raised in South Africa. Before opening Africola he was the head chef at Adelaide’s Bistro Dom. He has also worked in Michelin-starred restaurants in the UK.
The chef also shows his skill in a dish of raw kingfish with mandarin segments and smoked leeks, and other delicacies, like poached meringue yogurt and shisho granita.
An $85 a head ‘Let Us Feed You’ taste experience will give you a good insight into what he’s all about.
Africola is located at 4 East Terrace, Adelaide. For more information, phone: 08 8223 3885.
Africola, East End, Adelaide
Jerusalem Sheshkebab House
This Middle Eastern eatery has been a local institution for over 30 years, so it must be doing something right.
Don’t be put off by the décor. That said, stick some orange plastic seats and green plastic glasses in an upmarket venue and it’s suddenly a hipster hangout!
The service is not fancy, but it’s quick. The authentic Arabic/Israeli cuisine is homely, but delicious. It’s good quality in a simple way.
As for the set banquet you get to pay more or less money depending how you answer the waiter’s question: “How hungry are you?”
Fill up on hummus, tabouli and baba ghanouj. Then maybe felafel, chargrilled marinated lamb kebabs, and cauliflower served in a spicy yoghurt and tahini sauce.
And what can beat a dessert of baklava, halwa or Turkish delight?
Jerusalem Sheshkabab House can be found at 131b Hindley Street, Adelaide. For more information, phone: 08 8212 6185.
The Ghan Kebab House
A short taxi ride from the city centre takes you to the suburb of Kilburn, and this huge eatery with its carpet-and-cushion seating area near the window.
It’s an atmospheric kind of place, with chandeliers and wall hangings and photographic murals dominating the scene.
The chicken tikka kebabs are grilled and marinated to perfection. Shami kebabs, made from lamb and dhal mixed together, are a knockout.
As for the charcoal chickens, which are flattened and well spiced and served with naan bread and fluffy basmati rice … they are so good that they almost fly out of the kitchen.
The restaurant offers Family Packs, feeding from four to eight people. Expect mixed kebabs or charcoal chicken, with rice, bread and a drink. No wonder it’s a family favourite.
The Ghan Kebab House is located at 366 Prospect Road, Kilburn. For more information, phone: 08 8262 4042.
Parwana Afghan Kitchen
It’s worth heading to the seaside for genuine Afghani food, not least because this restaurant’s owners made an awful long journey to get there too.
Zelmai and Farida Ayubi migrated from Afghanistan with their young family in 1987, at the height of the Cold War. Now they infuse their cooking with the memories of the Afghanistan they once knew.
Dumplings are hugely popular in Afghanistan, but they are difficult to make so are reserved for celebrations. So, celebrate! Try the Mantu steamed dumplings stuffed with carrot and sautéed onion.
But there is so much more to savour. Like the karayee morgh – or pan-fried chicken pieces coated in garlic, chilli, coriander and yogurt.
Oh, and finger licking is part of the deal, because in Afghanistan it’s traditional to eat with your right hand and use the bread to scoop things up.
Local beers also go down a treat, but you could go cold turkey and try a Rose Sharbat. It’s made with rose syrup and infused with basil seeds. Or a Sour Cherry Sharbat made with Morello cherry syrup.
Leave room for a ginger and walnut ice cream, or a traditional candied apple preserve served with vanilla and cardamom ice cream.
Parwana Afghan Kitchen is located at 124b Henley Beach Road, Adelaide. For more information, phone: 08 8443 9001.
Hello Dolly is a business run by a family from a little town in the Shouf Mountains of Lebanon. It oozes typical Middle Eastern hospitality, and offers a huge variety of homemade food, with the emphasis on pure and natural.
This Lebanese institution is a take-away hit, but it also has a small casual area put aside for eating in. The menu is impressive, with over 60 choices.
Hello Dolly is well-known for its pita wraps, authentic salads, and sweets. All the old favourites are here, like falafels, and spinach pie, hoummus, tabouli, and babaganouj.
But for something different, try a chickpea casserole, or the fish baked with lemon vinegar, nuts, coriander and tahini.
Hello Dolly is located at 1a/103 Payneham Road, St Peters. For more information, phone: 08 8362 8273.
Addis Ababa Cafe
A simple hut-like appearance, fairy lights and traditional music, makes Addis Ababa café into a night out in Ethiopia.
Just tear off a piece of tangy injera bread and mop up a portion of Kifto, a delicately-spiced minced beef dish drizzled with clarified butter. Eat it either raw or lightly browned.
Another house speciality is tibs, translating to sizzling cubes of lean beef and lamb ribs, seasoned with onion, capsicum and ghee and sprinkled with an Ethiopian mitmita spice mix of chilli, cardamom and cloves.
The food arrives at the table under a traditional wooden cloche and when it’s removed a waft of exotic spices billows out.
Perhaps the best way to experience the range of cuisine is to opt for the $28 per person banquet. It offers unlimited refills of dishes and bread. Addis Ababa Cafe is located at Shop 4, 462 Port Road, West Hindmarsh. For more information, phone: 08 8241 5185.
More and more Ethiopian restaurants are cropping up across the country, and Tana is one of the best.
It’s light and bright and has a family atmosphere and, in case you don’t know what to do with a bowl of Kay Misir Wot or a Kitfo, the waiter will generously explain how you should eat it.
Ethiopian food is generally eaten with a soft bread made of teff, a khaki-coloured grain. The cuisine can be surprisingly hot and spicy, so that bowl of Kay Siga Wot you ordered (diced beef cooked with onion, garlic, ginger and spices) can pack a punch.
A Meat Platter is a good option here if you want to compare a few dishes.
The restaurant has Ethiopian beer too, and sublime traditional coffee. Ethiopians relish their coffee and have a Coffee Ceremony that can rival a Tea Ceremony in Japan.Tana Ethiopian is located at 2/119-121 Grange Road, Allenby Gardens. For more information, phone: 08 8340 0093.
Yet another restaurant that’s worth its salt is this unpretentious eatery near the sea.
The African paintings on the walls and the fun atmosphere enhance the simple décor. The menu is an interesting one if you are not used to Ethiopian food, with plenty of meat and vegetarian dishes on offer.
A stand out dish is the Doro-wot – a traditional favourite of chicken legs simmered in a spicy, onion sauce served with boiled eggs.
The banquet makes for a bonding adventure. Expect one large plate between you, covered with an overhanging layer of Ethiopian bread and mounds of various selections off the menu. Just dig in, all together, hands first.Abyssinian Restaurant is located at 126 Henley Beach Road, Torrensville. For more information, phone: 08 8443 4300.
The children of Parwana Afghan Kitchen founders, together with their partners, have created this friendly, hole-in-the-wall lunchtime space with jewel-like tiles that give it a spangle.
The menu is compact, with just 10 great value main dishes.
The morgh degee, made from chicken pieces in yoghurt and spices, melts in your mouth and comes wrapped in an Afghan naan with salad and herb chutney.
Meanwhile, a signature dish of eggplant slices simmering in a tomato and yoghurt sauce is a vegetarian masterpiece.
A couple of dumpling dishes go down well too, especially the fried dumplings stuffed with leek and topped with lamb in a yogurt sauce.
Bolani – or pan-fried turnovers filled with lamb or potato – help balance the menu.
By the way, Kutchi means ‘nomad’ or ‘gypsy’ in Farsi. The owners believe it symbolises the family story of migration and new beginnings.Kutchi Deli can be found at 7 Ebenezer Place, Adelaide. For more information, phone: 08 7225 8586.
If you like to go on journey when you eat, then head to Marrakech. It’s small and often crowded, but it serves authentic Moroccan food with an emphasis on traditional spices.
Owner and head chef, Mohamed Bartaouch, makes friends easily with his platter of three Moroccan dips with warm pita bread.
Move on to an entrée of a filo pastry pie of salmon, mixed with harissa and fresh mint. Or the alchemy they call bestella, which combines the savoury taste of chicken with the sweetness of cinnamon and icing sugar.
Go with friends or family to really appreciate the sharing aspect of Moroccan cuisine, especially if you order a meal cooked in the traditional earthenware pot called a tagine.
Loosen your trousers because the melting meat of a lamb tagine with prunes and almonds and fluffy couscous will fill you almost to bursting point. But who can go past the pancakes with honey, cream, strawberries and walnuts for desert?Marrakech Restaurant is located at 91 O'Connell Street, North Adelaide. For more information, phone: 8361 9696.