Dear Readers do you like going to museums or do you find them boring? Come on admit it, I wont judge you 😛 I actually don’t mind going to museums and find them really interesting and a good way learn about history. But having said that I don’t remember the last time I went to the Melbourne Museum, I drive past it nearly every time I go into the City and have gone to the Royal Exhibition Building next to it, but never gone into the actual Museum.
Until a few weeks ago, when Sofia invited me to a Afghanistan luncheon at the Melbourne Museum cafe. The cafe usually serves sandwiches, pies and salads, however, to accommodate the Afghanistan Hidden Treasures exhibition they have on at the moment, the cafe is now offering a range of Afghanistan inspired dishes.
At the lunch I was joined by Ash and Joyce and her little baby boy who was so well-behaved, I nearly forgot he was there 🙂 There were quite a few dishes to choose from and nearly all which I haven’t heard of let alone tasted so I let the ordering to Sofia who decided we’ll get one of everything ~
We started off with the Sabzee vegetarian filo which is a filo pastry with vegetables all through it then coiled into a snail shape so you not only get the crunchy filo pastry on the outside but also inside. It also came with a side of salad and yoghurt, I really liked the flakiness of the filo pastry and because it was baked and not fried it wasn’t oily or heavy and turns out to be one of my favourite savoury dishes. We were also told that this dish is called the ‘Afghan hat’ because it resembles a hat.
This is the Mourgh Delight chicken dish where the chicken is traditionally marinated in yoghurt to tenderise the meat and then grilled or roasted. I liked the juiciness of the chicken thigh and also the subtle orange flavour, paired up with white crusty bread and salad perfect lunch dish for one ~
We then tried the Qabili Pilau which is a National Dish of Afghanistan. You will need to dig through the yellow rice to be able to find the lamb stew underneath, even though I don’t eat lamb, I tried a little bit and found the stew to be really nice and had flavours similar to an Indian curry. I suspect this may be because both cuisines use similar spices ~ I also liked the sweetness that came from the raisins and dried apricot.
I always thought Afghanistan was more like a naan and baked in a tandoor very much like the Indian flatbread. However, this homemade Afghanistan bread had the texture more like a Turkish bread, with a good crust on the outside but still remaining soft in the inside 🙂 Unfortunately, I didn’t really like the lamb and cumin filling as I’m not a lamb eater and this a little too ‘lamby’ for me but the other girls liked it ~ So I’m sure other lamb-eaters will too hehe
Our last dish was a grilled chicken and orange salad with a saffron vinaigrette which was a great accompaniment to all our other meat and more filling dishes. I particularly liked the saffron vinaigrette which gave it more flavour ~
As soon as I walked in, I already had my eyes set on the Afghan inspired sweets ~ so glad we got to try them all 😀 Starting with a moist vanilla mini cake with a cream cheese frosting and crushed pistachios can’t go wrong with cream cheese 🙂 Then we tried the orange curd and rosewater tart, I was worried that it was going to be ‘fragrant’ with the rosewater, instead flavours were quite subtle and the orange curd was sweeter than lemon curd. My favourite was probably the Halwa and Zardak pudding which is a rosewater, cardamon and carrot pudding and it was complimented very well with the thick Greek yoghurt. I’m now on the hunt for a recipe for this! Last but not least was the Sheer Pavra fudge which is the most delectable fudge. It had flavours of cardamon, cinnamon and pistachios, it’s very sweet so automatically my favourite!
It was a wonderful lunch with the girls and a great introduction to Afghanistan food as I’ve never had it before ~ I have already come to the conclusion that I really like their cakes and sweets. Now I’m going to have to drag, Mr Bao to the Afghanistan Hidden Treasures exhibition to see it with me and most importantly go back to the cafe for more fudge 😀
Afghanistan Hidden Treasures exhibition is on until 28th July 2013 for more information check their website.
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Carlton, Victoria, 3053
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Daisy@Nevertoosweet dined as a guest of Word Salad and Melbourne Museum
I’m also super excited to tell you guys that I was recently interviewed by the amazing Maureen (The Orgasmic Chef) over at Food Friday Writer please check it out if you’re interested 🙂