I meet up with other food enthusiasts every two months, last time was ordering from the ‘48hrs advanced notice’ menu at Malaysian Chapter, this month was Afghan food at Koochi. I had never eaten Afghan food before and I didn’t know what to expect but with a quick browse of the menu I could tell that they like eating lamb.
The whole place was colourfully decorated with tradition clothing, lanterns, beautiful material and rugs.
I am in love with this wall. The colours, the dried clay, the lanterns. It made me forget that I was in the G.
Kabul style fresh homemade lemonade ($5.00). I don’t usually get beverages but since I was trying out a whole new cuisine, there had to be something I had never had before on their drinks menu.
The perfect amount of lemon sourness and sweetness and it was great that it wasn’t fizzy. I thought it was odd though that we ordered two lemonades and when my friend who had arrived late ordered one, they said that they had ran out so she ordered a fresh mint tea instead.
Fresh mint tea ($4.50).
‘Our famous Koochi tasting plate for 2’: Mantu, Chablee kabab, Tikah, Shamee, Chicken served with chutney and Afghani bread ($32).
Chutney and Afghani bread – the bread was served hot and delicious; the ‘chutney’ was very runny but had lots of spice, chili and coriander goodness.
Chicken – chargrilled chicken cubes, marinated in a heirloom secret recipe, lightly powdered with sumac. Could this be the most delicious tender chicken in Canberra? *drool*
Tikah – chargrilled lamb cubes, marinated in a heirloom secret recipe, lightly powdered with sumac. A bit tougher than the chicken but still very good.
Shamee – chargrilled lamb mince, marinated in a heirloom secret recipe, lightly powdered with sumac. Although these were all marinated the same, the flavours and textures were very unique to each dish.
Mantu – lamb mince, herbs and spices and onion dumplings, topped with home-made yoghurt and dried mint. It had a nice thin layer of pastry which meant that there was a good pastry to filling ratio. The filling itself was little bit dry but luckily it was topped with yoghurt.
Chablee kabab – lightly fried lamb mince, tomato, capsicum patties mixed in herbs and spices. A great use of spices. Very different texture to the rest of the plate, felt almost like a Thai crab cake.
A look inside the mantu.
Kabulee Pallow – lamb cubes, marinated in traditional Afghani korma, covered with Afghani rice, topped with sliced carrots, barberries and almonds ($26.00). I was amazed by all the vibrant colour that I almost forgot that there was very tender, very flavoursome lamb hiding in the rice. The lamb was very sporadic in the dish but I didn’t mind because the rice and extras could have held on its own.
Potato Korma ($6.50). It was ok, nothing special, the potato was very tender but because everything else surpassed all expectations, this in comparison was very mediocre.
Borrani bonjon – pan-fried eggplant, topped with tomato puree, onions, drizzled with yoghurt and dried mint ($8.00). I’m a sucker for eggplant so when my friends asked to have something different from all the meat, I was very keen to order this. Not much in the way of texture but the salty flavours from the eggplant, tomato puree and onions was soooo good especially when it was balanced by the yoghurt on top.
I had my eye on a few desserts that I haven’t seen before but coincidentally the person who makes the desserts (every Monday and Friday) hadn’t come in to make them the previous day, so we had to go with ‘plan B’.
Chef’s selection – selection of Beklawa mix, served with Afghani tea. Serving for two ($17.90). I wasn’t going to have the Afghani tea (you can choose either black or green) but they were nice enough to give us another cup so I could try. It had a lovely taste of cardamom and it was very refreshing from the syrups and sweetness of the dessert platter.
A lot of nuts, syrups and textures but there wasn’t much difference between them all, my favourite was the baklava.
Friendly attentive staff that wasn’t afraid to tell me that I wouldn’t be full after the ‘platter for 2’ and that’s why I ordered everything else (and then some). Although it seemed like I had eaten lamb in 5 ways, it was all so different, tasty and interesting. It just really proves that they know how to cook lamb! Oh and that chicken… You must try the chicken.
It is sad to see that this place isn’t very busy (I had walked past it again after visiting) considering it is a lot better than most of the surrounding restaurants. Don’t be afraid to try something different, it may surprise you and you’ll be left wondering why you didn’t try it sooner.
Venue: Koochi Cafe
Address: Shop 33/46 Hibberson St Gungahlin place, Gungahlin, ACT 2612
Phone: (02) 6262 2341
Monday 5pm – 9pm
Tues/Wed 11am – 9pm
Thurs/Fri 11am – 9:30pm
Saturday 10am – 9:30pm
Sunday 10am – 9pm
Closed between 2 – 5pm Monday-Friday
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