Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Restaurant review: Canberra: Koochi Afghan cafe

Dear reader,

My penurous state has meant that I haven't been in a position to indulge myself fully in rediscovering the joys of the Canberran restaurant scene, however that does not mean I have been entirely stuck at home researching old recipes.

In fact, the other day I found a little gem that I thought I really had to share with you.

The Koochi Afghan cafe is in Gungahlin - yes I know for many of my Canberra readers, this is the equivalent of outer Mongolia, and I admit that I was not holding out a great deal of hope to find a decent meal.

But Koochi sparked my curiosity and I decided to give it a go.  

The restaurant was quiet (but so was the whole of the area at the time), with only a solo diner and a small family beside myself.  I was invited to sit anywhere, and settled myself down in a window seat.

The decor is all very modern, apart from the rather charming ceiling which has wooden beams and is hung with modified kerosine lamps.

I ordered a cup of tea and chose for my lunch Borrani Bonjon - described as pan-fried eggplant, topped with tomatoes, onions and drizzled with yoghurt and dried mint, served with rice. 

Now I do love a bit of well prepared aubergine, and as the dish was placed before me I had to admire the colour and presentation - a rich red, swirled with yoghurt.   They gave me the dish of aubergine, rice, a yoghurt based dip, and a fresh condiment that they called chutney - but you need to imagine something more like a light chilli dressing.

The scent of my dish was so tempting I took a bite immediately.  Oh my.  What a glorious balance of sweet and savoury and of delicate spices.  It was at that moment that I decided that I had to write this review.  That is why the photo I took (which I will post shortly) has a bite out of it.

I didn't quite get to the point of licking the plate, but I can promise you, there was not a morsel left of that dish.  The price of this memorable meal?  $12 for the dish itself - prices for meals range from 12 to 32 dollars, depending mostly on the meat factor. There is a 32 platter to share for two, which I would like to try next time.. 

Try it... go on, head out to outer Mongolia and let me know if you love it too!

Koochi Cafe
Gungahlin Marketplace