Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Bamiyan, Five Dock

Recently boy and I were meant to meet a friend of ours, Maria, at the Night Noodle Markets in Sydney, but the old woman in me couldn't cope with going in the rain and so a quick plan B was created. Luckily, I have a plethora of plan Bs for such a time as this, and Maria's choice from the suggested possibilities was Afghani cuisine at Bamiyan.

The restaurant is really lovely. We were seated in the lower section, which felt warm and inviting. The tables all had crisp white tablecloths, wine glasses and folded napkins, which (in my experience) is unusual in a place where you can eat for $25 a head.

Banjan Boranee - (eggplant)
Seekh Kebab
Mantu (beef dumplings)
Kachaloo Bolanee (flat bread)
Vegetarian Samosa
Banjan Boranee (eggplant)
Kabuli Pallow (rice with chicken)
Butter Naan

Mantu (beef dumpling)
Hello new dumpling friend! For frequent readers of this blog, you may have noticed that I have a slight(!?) obsession with dumplings, so imagine my joy when I read the menu and found that Afghani cuisine has their very own beef (mantu), and vegetarian (ashaak) dumplings. For some reason I expected them to be hearty big dumplings with a thick pasta-like dough, however the plate that came to the table had a line of delicate morsels, each in its almost-translucent wrapper that reminded me of a Chinese wonton wrapper. Boy and I were very much taken with the mantu, and now (of course) I have to try and see if I can find a recipe to try and replicate them for myself.

Another new dish for my taste education was the Kachaloo Bolanee, which came out looking quite similar to a quesadilla, was then likened (in texture) to a Chinese shallot pancake, before the consensus at the table landed on a gozleme as the closest comparison, but with potato and spices in the middle.

Other entree dishes, the samosa and the seekh kebabs, were also really good, and were better than similar dishes I've had in Indian restaurants in the area.

Both mains that we ordered were also described on the menu as traditional Afghani fare, and I thought both were wonderful. The rice was full of yummy extras, the best being the slow cooked chicken. Unfortunately there were very few pieces of chicken in the rice, which was something of a letdown considering how good it was! The korma that came as a side with the rice was creamy, with the meat perfectly tender.

The eggplant dish (banjan boranee) was a real surprise. I'm not much of an eggplant eater (other than in Baba ghannouj), mainly because I don't find any eating enjoyment in the outside skin. However, this eggplant (and skin) were so melt-a-licious that I went back for more and more. The tomato and yogurt sauce was a perfect accompaniment to the dish.

The staff were very amiable, and showed great hospitality and pride in their establishment. When the dishes were slow coming out (and they were), the head guy would come and check on the waiting tables. When you go to Bamiyan yourself, be ready to settle in for the evening. The music and atmosphere encourage you slow down and enjoy your meal and conversation, so the leisurely pace at which the food comes out fits the experience.

Bamiyan Restaurant on Urbanspoon Bamiyan Restaurant
175 First Ave
Five Dock

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