If you’re looking to spicing up your summer, you should consider giving African cuisine a try. Last summer, Kev and I made our first attempt at Safari Grill and we loved how flavorful the dishes were. This year, our friend, Moe, brought us to another restaurant that serves a great variety of food from Eastern Africa with a fusion of East Indian. More importantly, everything is halal!
The restaurant is located in the Northeast industrial area. Similar to Safari Grill, the place was designed with exotic, wildlife and nature-themed decor accents, bringing the spirit of Africa to the restaurant.
Zebra print seemed to be an essential part of the setup in every African dining place 😛
The menu mesmerized us with the wide selection of food it offered, from BBQ entrees, Indian curries, Chinese rice/noodles to western burgers. To made things simple, we opted for the BBQ platters to share among the four of us.
Before the food arrived, the server brought us a try of condiments, including green chili chutney, tamarind sauce, Indian raita sauce, hot sauce, and coconut chutney.
The maharaja’s platter ($46.99) came with chicken, beef and prawn mishkaki (which means skewers of BBQ’d or grilled tender cubes of boneless meat) as well as beef ribs and lamb chops. With the same marinated sauce, the chicken, beef and shrimps were extremely fragrant and lemony. The beef skewers tasted a bit hard and firm, making them difficult to chew. The chicken was slightly spicy and dry. The overwhelming sour beef ribs definitely needed some Indian raita or coconut chutney to tone the flavor down. This dish might not be an ideal choice for someone who has sensitive teeth. On the plus side, the lamb chop was amazingly tasty, soft and fatty.
Followed immediately were the mogo and masala fries that came with the platter. Freshly made, the masala fries were hot with a coating of spicy, tangy tomato sauce. Despite covered in sauce, the fries were very crunchy.
If you prefer a milder version, you would love the chunky, crispy mogo fries, sprinkled with dried spices.
In comparison, the sumni sumni platter ($16.99) was smaller in size, only included a few skewers of marinated BBQ beef. The beef were a lot more tender than the one from the maharaja’s platter. If you only want beef and nothing else, order this platter.
Along with the platter, there was garlic naan and a bed of cabbage and veggies. To my disappointment, the garlic naan was dry and hard. I wouldn’t recommend ordering extra naan at Africana.
To finish off the meal, we ordered gulab jamun and kulfi for dessert. Gulab Jamun ($4.99) is a traditional Indian dessert, prepared with spongy milky balls soaking in rose-scented sugary syrup. I preferred the one served at Safari Grill. The balls here were not moist and sweet enough.
We all loved the kulfi ($4.99) though! Kulfi is the Indian version of ice cream, but denser and creamier. Compared to the mango kulfi, the pistachio flavor was very strongly scented. The mango one somehow lost its flavor after a few bites.
Reading up till here, you might ask me which one I would recommend – Safari Grill or Africana? It is undeniable that both offer an extensive selection food and Africana definitely has some good dishes. However, based on the overall food quality, my pick is Safari Grill.