With the Olympics on, I have literally been glued in front of the TV. A hard drive recorder is a fantastic thing, not only can you watch some less interesting sports in double speed, you can skip through all the ads by using the 30 second skip button. Anyway, this meal at Afghan Village on Burke Road in Camberwell was eaten over three weeks ago. This means that my memory of some of the dishes isn't so clear but I'll try my best to remember them.
The restaurant is a small place and has a really intimate feeling. The rugs on the wall, artwork, candles and low lighting (but not too low) all help to make you at ease the moment you step in. We are greeted by a waiter and before I could even open my mouth to say that we had booked, he showed us our table. We were brought menus and iced water immediately, a good start. Also, without us needing to ask, he brought wine glasses and opened the wine for us. Now that's what I call service.
We were discussing which banquet option to go for. Some of us wanted to go for the banquet with 4 entrees and 3 mains while others wanted 4 entrees and 4 mains. We asked the waiter if we could order separate banquets so that they made one of the mains a bit smaller, but instead he offered us the larger banquet for the cheaper price. Deal.
First off we were presented with Nan with a selection of dips, including yoghurt and cucumber, a spicy chilli dip and a seafood dip (salmon) from memory. Then we got Pan Fried Eggplant with a tomato and yoghurt sauce. I really liked the way the eggplant with its charred flavour worked well with the cool yoghurt. The Dahl was enjoyed thoroughly by Kin, while everyone loved the Meat Dumplings, again served with a tomato and yoghurt sauce.
For mains, there was Lamb Korma, Chicken Korma, a Sizzling Hotplate of Chicken and Kofta, a Sticky Rice, Rice with Sultanas and Carrots and Plain Rice. The kormas had a slight kick to them and had very tender meat. The sizzling hotplate was my favourite, with vegetables that carried a smoky flavour and the koftas were a beautiful blend of meat and spices. Suprisingly, the rice with sultanas and carrots really worked and I like the sweet burst of flavours from the sultanas.
After the mains, we were all really full, but dessert looked so good that we couldn't resist. The dessert platter consisted of Biscuits that had rose water and cardamon, Baklava and a Panna cotta style dessert served with Peach or Apricot jam, I can't remember. The biscuits were quite dense and floury and went well with the coffee. The baklava was quite good, not as good as the ones from El-Fayha that I have mentioned a million times on this blog. The best though was definitely the Aghani Panna Cotta, since I don't know exactly what it's called. It was smooth and had a light flavour of the rose water and tasted great with the jam.
As I mentioned earlier, service was really good. All night the waiters were efficient and attentive. They were friendly without being sugary. They just got on with their jobs and made a couple of jokes throughout the night.
I liked the ambience as there was a good buzz in the room. People were chatting freely and food was just a part of the conversation. The rugs on the wall helped to make the place look good, but I think it also helps to absorb a lot of noise as well.
Overall Rating: 15/20, Good tasting Afghani food that you don't get to try everyday with good prices and service.
Scores: 1-9: Unacceptable, don't bother. 10-11: Just OK,some shortcomings. 12: Fair. 13: Getting there. 14: Recommended. 15: Good. 16: Really good. 17: Truly excellent. 18: An outstanding experience. 19-20:Approaching perfection, Victoria's best.