Monday, April 11, 2016

Gibe African Restaurant, Dandenong by Bureaucrat

Prior to dining at Gibe African Restaurant, I think I've only ever been to one African restaurant and that's the Horn Cafe in Fitzroy. I loved the food, especially the complex savoury flavours (nowadays, for every spice shop that I come across, I make a point to search out berbere to buy.  So far, Gew├╝rzhaus does the best blend, in my opinion; second is Herbies, and third is Oasis Bakery in Murrumbeena) and that chewy, sour, plasticky bread that's called injera. Despite my fondness of African cuisine, my experiences with it have been few and far in between.

Gibe African Restaurant, Dandenong
I made a point to rectify this culinary deficiency of mine and decided to try Gibe African Restaurant in Dandenong.  I picked Gibe because it had great reviews and had the benefit of being closer to home than heading out to Fitzroy.

I have to confess that this review may not be entirely helpful in identifying what we ordered.  While I remembered what dishes we had picked, given that all the dishes came out at once and most of them looked very similar, we couldn't quite distinguish wat was wat (pardon the pun!).

Gibe African Restaurant, Dandenong, sambussa
I'll start with an easy dish to identify: the sambussa ($3 each). For the four of us, we got a couple of these fried parcels to share.  They are either filled with these delicious al dente puy lentils (for a lentil skeptic, I was surprised just how tasty these were) or a minced beef filling.  The pastry is thin, crispy and not oily, and are fairly hefty in size.  

Gibe African Restaurant, Dandenong, doro wat
Another easy one to identify was the doro wat ($16.99).  This rich, savoury chicken stew was cooked with red onion, purified butter, berbere, spices and served with a boiled egg and injera.  Despite the deep red colour, it isn't overly spicy.

Gibe African Restaurant, Dandenong, injera
For the injera, we picked a mix of white and wholemeal teff flour (pretty much every dish on the menu comes with your choice of injera or rice). Rather disappointingly, these were served at room temperature.  I'm not sure whether this is traditional, but when we had it at the Horn Cafe, these were served hot and tasted much better that way.

Gibe African Restaurant, Dandenong, injera
All the colours of the 'bow, man!

Here comes the tricky part.  We had ordered two combination platters - one meat, one vegetarian.  Apart from the obviously meat plate, I'm not entirely sure what's on the rest of the plates except to say everything was delicious!

Gibe African Restaurant, Dandenong, meat platter
I'm fairly sure that this was part of the Beyayinetu yefisge wat ($19.99), which is a combination dish of chicken, lamb and beef, which also included a plate of vegetarian stews.  

Gibe African Restaurant, Dandenong, meat platter
The red lentil, yellow split pea and puy lentils that came with the Beyayinetu yefisge wat

Gibe African Restaurant, Dandenong, vegetarian platter
And by a process of deduction, this was the Yetsome beyayinetu ($16.99) - the combination vegetarian platter.  

Gibe African Restaurant, Dandenong, vegetarian platter
More dishes from Yetsome beyayinetu

While everything was tasty, we all agreed that the vegetarian dishes tasted the best.  There was just something about the spices that really blend well with the starchiness of the various lentils and vegetables that were used.

Gibe African Restaurant, Dandenong, Ethiopian coffee
Mr Strong also tried a cup of strong Ethiopian coffee ($3).  

Gibe African Restaurant, Dandenong, Ethiopian coffee
For $15 per person, you can also experience the full coffee service, which comes with a coffee pouring ceremony.

Gibe African Restaurant, Dandenong

Gibe African Restaurant, Dandenong

Verdict

We really liked itWe really liked it

Overall

Service was friendly and helpful.  A nice African restaurant.  I particularly liked the entree and the vegetarian dishes.  Inside, it's spacious and clean.

It's pretty great value.  For the four of us we were all full and the bill came to about $66, with enough food leftover for me to take home for the Lawyer who missed out on coming to lunch.

Find it at

Gibe African Restaurant
108 Foster Street
Dandenong 3175 VIC
Phone: 03 9792 9929

Gibe African Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 

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