Words by Thomas Skurray & Fatema Sitabkhan
Photos by Fatema Sitabkhan
Not being a native of the beautiful continent of Africa, there’s something about Africa’s many diverse cuisines that garner great appeal. It is clear that the African Village Centre Restaurant operates to serve Adelaide’s African community first and foremost, rather than pandering to hipsters and passing fads. It is this that repeatedly draws Tom back to this humble eatery. Having had a limited exposure to their beautiful flavours through our travels, we decided to have dinner here and culturally enlighten ourselves with the beauty of Ethiopian cuisine.
Located in the suburb of Torrensville, most items on the menu offer a generous selection of some of the tastiest and wholesome dishes that are best enjoyed shared, bringing together a table of hungry food lovers.
The restaurant is located within a community centre and offers a small, but cozy setting for customers to enjoy their meals with loved ones, and to appreciate the beauty of Ethiopian culture. It also acts as a meeting place for community members to socialise and play pool. While the décor is simple, it offers a rich snapshot of a traditional Ethiopian lifestyle. An open hut, decorated in bamboo and painted in bright, vibrant colors, plays host to the traditional Ethiopian coffee ceremony. Dining around the time of sunset brightened up the space and made us feel like we had been transported to the mystical place itself (even if it was just for a little bit).
Dietary requirements are well accommodated for, with options of gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan options available on the menu. The staff also cater to varying heat tolerances, with the option to tweak the chilli content in a number of the dishes upon request.
We ordered the Chef’s Choice // Taste of Ethiopia ($25 per person), which is a tasting platter featuring an array of vegetarian and meat dishes, and served alongside Injera and salad. The injera, a fermented crepe-like bread made from teff and wheat flour, acts as the ultimate vehicle to lovingly sop up the plentiful serves of the different dishes on the platter.
We also sampled a cup each of traditional Ethiopian tea with fresh thyme ($2.50 per person), which is served in cups that are adorned in beautiful art.
African Village also has a small grocery store on site, selling the staple grains, flours and spices that form the Ethiopian diet, along with traditional cooking vessels and sheesha equipment.
Ethiopian food truly has something for everyone, and African Village is no different. There are tantalising dishes boasting rich flavour profiles, whereas others are more subtle and mild. Whilst the meat dishes may occasionally feel heavy, they are offset by the lighter vegetarian offerings. Consistencies also vary, with some menu items served in a smooth form, whilst others may have more bite. The sheer variety of flavours, textures and temperatures not only creates exciting contrast, but more importantly, provides for a well rounded cuisine, in which all components complement one another and balance hails as king.
African Village Centre Restaurant
Address: 2A Northcote Street, Torrensville, Adelaide, SA
Contact: (08) 8352 1492
Opening hours: Tues-Sun 10am-10pm, Mon 10am-4pm
Social media: Facebook