It's not often that I head out into Dandenong. However, on one weekend, we happened to be there. With my blood sugar plummeting, I needed food... lots of it!
As we weren't familiar with the area, we opted to try our luck on one of the main streets in the area. With a few Afghani restaurants along the street, we went with Afghan Tasty Food, and boy, did it live up to its name!
Inside, it's simple, clean and homely, with a sense of pride. The tiled floors give it a typical takeaway shop feel. However, the strong, sturdy wooden chairs make it feel like you were walking into someone's dining room.
A friendly staff (I suspect he was the manager) took our order. As I needed food immediately, I got a serve of their dessert. Unfortunately, I forgot the name of this, but they're deep fried batter (sort of reminiscent of an Indian sweet). Sticky and drenched in honey and lemon. Despite being a health bomb, the texture is light and it breaks away quite easily. You'll definitely need a strong cup of tea to enjoy this. A steal at $1 for four.
Now, the mains - yum, YUM, YUMMY. To share, we got the shami - beef kebabs. Juicy, deeply spiced (complex flavours), tender beef. I gave up trying to determine the many herbs and spices there were - I could taste cardamom. I've never had kebabs quite like this. They just slid off the metal holders. They were juicy but not fatty, and had a hint of smokiness from it being flame-grilled.
They came with a serve of freshly baked Afghani bread. Light but with a pleasant chewiness.
We also got one of the combination dishes. Here, the qabuli palow (candied orange peel, almond, pistachio rice). Fluffly, long grain rice, cooked in stock. I loved the colour and presentation and the texture. Sweetly tinged, yet savoury, rice. While I could taste the almonds, I couldn't find much of the pistachio. Next time, I want to try the other palow, which is made with grated carrot and raisins.
Along with the rice was was the lamb kofta. Tender lamb, a lovely thick, tomatoey sauce w chickpeas. Not a hint of gamey flavour in the lamb.
It also came with a crisp, simple salad and a fresh, green chutney.
I also had to order a serve of garlic bread. OMG. Freshly baked bread that was loaded with minced garlic and a bit of butter. I could just eat this forever. Aromatic, bready and so moreish. The best garlic bread that I ever have had!
Food - 10
Service - 8
Ambience - 7
Price - 8
It was clear that ATF is a favourite of many Afghani and local people. Quite a few people were coming to collect their order of freshly baked Afghani bread (buy the armful). Prior to this, I had never tried Afghani food. But I'm now definitely a fan! I love the food! So full of flavour and textures. We polished everythign off - it was that good. And I do regret that I don't live close enough to eat the garlic bread more often. Quite reasonably priced, too. I'll be back very soon, and this time, with my family in tow.... yum, yum, YUM!
Afghan Tasty Food
365 Lonsdale St
Telephone: 9792 4945