Sticking to my resolution to try out more different ethnic cuisines, my friends R and J picked this restaurant for us to dine at last Sunday. They recently ate here and raved very highly about it so I was very excited to try it out. My understanding of African cuisine is very strong use of spices and lots of grilled meats. Perfect for the carnivorous me! I’ve been wanting to go to Africana Eatery & Cheers Pub for a while but due to the fact that they’re probably not child friendly I just never went. J did mention that he thinks (or heard) these two restaurants are linked by the relationship of the owners – brothers or cousins or something so you can very similar cooking styles at both places.
Here’s what we ordered tonight:
An array of sauces. I can’t really tell you what’s what except the white one is yogurt based. The top two looked deathly spicy.
I almost think the green one is an African chimichurri sauce. It is suggested that the green one is most likely a cilantro and mint chutney.
Short Beef Ribs (nyama ya mbavu) – $12.50
I can’t remember if J ordered this as mild or medium spicy, but it definitely had a kick to it. For some reason I expected them to be dry and they were quite saucy. They were extremely flavorful from the (secret?) blend of African spices. The meat was tender and not dry, and I was very happy and surprised by the generous portion.
Safari Grill’s Signature Salmon – $15.50
salmon in a honey, tamarind, chilies, ginger and garlic sauce – paired with Safari garden salad
This was J’s order. The salmon was cooked perfectly and the sweet sauce was delicious. I’ve recently started appreciating using tamarind in cooking and I just can’t get that sweet flavor out of my head! I would love to replicate this sauce.
Kuku Paka – $16.50
chicken in coconut curry sauce - served with rice and naan (choice of naan, chapati or roti)
This was R’s order. White meat is used and the curry itself is very mild with strong flavors of coconut. I’m surprised at the huge portion of sides – most places would just give you the one or the other! I can see Indian influence in this dish.
Serengeti Platter $18.50
quarter BBQ chicken, 1 skewer of chicken & 1 skewer of beef mishkaki - substituted rice with garden salad (choice of vegetable rice, masala chips or pili-pili chips)
I appreciate the staff’s accommodation to let me substitute my starchy side with a salad. Initially I had wanted to try a curry but as I’m trying to eat better, I figured BBQ meats with a salad would be a much healthier option. The meats themselves are super flavorful although I found the beef a bit dry, but the chicken was smooth and juicy. The spices were very strong but nothing was spicy. I thought this was a great way to try out a few different items. The salad itself had a sweet dressing to it and I liked the scattering of pomegranate arils allover it.
Kulfi – $5.50
traditional ice cream – pistachio flavor
This dessert is Indian influenced. It was quite frozen – it would be a great treat on a hot day since it takes longer to melt than the traditional ice cream. It’s denser and creamier, and evaporated or sweetened milk is also used rather than just normal milk. I didn’t try it but R seems to like it.
Rasmalai – $5.50
dumplings made from cottage or ricotta cheese soaked in sweetened, thickened milk delicately flavored with cardamom
This dessert is also Indian influenced. I’ve never tried anything like it and the description of the rasmalai was very appealing to me. I’m gonna say it right now – anything with the words ‘sweetened milk’ is a plus in my books. The dumplings, or paneers, are not very cheesy and the cardamom reminds me of cinnamon. I liked how sweet (yet not overwhelming) and light this was – great way to end the meal.
Service was friendly and attentive, and a man who I assume to be the owner came by to check on things. I have to say I love the zebra theme that this restaurant has adopted and it had a very relaxing and inviting atmosphere. I’m glad to have tried something new this night and I still want to go eat at Africana Eatery & Cheers Pub!