Afghanistan Hidden Treasures – Melbourne Museum Cafe

Dear Readers do you like going to museums or do you find them boring? Come on admit it, I wont judge you ๐Ÿ˜› 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.

Melbourne Museum

Melbourne 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 ๐Ÿ™‚ 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 ~

Sabzee vegetarian filo with salata $9.80

Sabzee vegetarian filo with salata $9.80

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.

Mourgh Delight (Chicken Dish) $9.8

Mourgh Delight (Chicken Dish) $9.8

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 ~

Qubil Pilau (Lamb Stew) with yellow rice $12.50

Qubili Pilau (Lamb Stew) with yellow rice $12.50

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 ย raisins and dried apricot.

Afghanistan bread filled with Lamb cumin feta served with yoghurt $12.50

Afghanistan bread filled with Lamb cumin feta served with yoghurt $12.50

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 ย on the outside but still remaining soft in the inside ๐Ÿ™‚ 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

Grilled chicken, orange, saffron vinaigrette $9

Grilled chicken, orange, saffron vinaigrette $9

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 ~

Afghan inspired cakes, sweets and tarts

Afghan inspired cakes, sweets and tarts

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 ๐Ÿ˜€ Starting with a moist vanilla mini cake with a cream cheese frosting and crushed pistachios can’t go wrong with cream cheese ๐Ÿ™‚ 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 ๐Ÿ˜€

Afghanistan Hidden Treasures exhibition is on until 28th July 2013 for more information check their website.

Melbourne Museum
11 Nicholson St
Carlton, Victoria, 3053
PH:ย +61 3 8341 7777

Daisy@Nevertoosweet dined as a guest of Word Salad and Melbourne Museumย 

I’m also super excited to tell you guys that I was recently interviewed by the amazing Maureenย (The Orgasmic Chef) over at Food Friday Writerย please check it out if you’re interested ๐Ÿ™‚

Screen shot 2013-05-28 at 11.14.20 PM


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26 thoughts on “Afghanistan Hidden Treasures – Melbourne Museum Cafe

  1. renxkyoko May 29, 2013 at 9:29 am Reply

    Our favorite bread at home is Afghan bread. There’s an Afghan bakery somehwre near my Dad’s workplace, and he goes there to buy their baked products. I posted a photo of it on my blogsite.

    Oh, I don’t like lamb, either. Sometimes, it gives an icky taste, that tastes like… never mind…..

    • Daisy@Nevertoosweet May 29, 2013 at 3:40 pm Reply

      Ohh really? I dun think I’ve had Afghan bread before but would be nice to find a good bakery around me who sells them ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Bam's Kitchen (@bamskitchen) May 29, 2013 at 12:05 pm Reply

    Who would have thought such amazing food near the museum. I really like the looks of the Sabzee vegetarian filo with salata, amazingly crispy. Have a super week. BAM

    • Daisy@Nevertoosweet May 29, 2013 at 3:40 pm Reply

      I never thought they served such nice food either ๐Ÿ™‚ But I’m glad they do and I’m definitely going to go back for their delicious fudge!!! Hope you have an awesome week ahead! xox

  3. hotlyspiced May 29, 2013 at 1:00 pm Reply

    I’ve never had Afghan food before. I’ve had Middle Eastern cuisine but nothing specifically Afghan. Interesting to see what’s on the menu xx

    • Daisy@Nevertoosweet May 29, 2013 at 3:43 pm Reply

      I haven’t either so it was a wonderful experience ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m sure there will be Afghan restaurant maybe you could visit as well Charlie in Sydney ~ xox

  4. Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella May 29, 2013 at 5:21 pm Reply

    How fascinating! I was really wondering what the Afghani desserts would be like ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Daisy@Nevertoosweet May 30, 2013 at 9:51 am Reply

      I was really intrigued as well Lorraine glad I’ve tried it and it reminds me kind of like Green desserts with the nuts and the use of rose water ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Peita at Leo's Cheese Bar Adelaide Central Market May 29, 2013 at 6:31 pm Reply

    Wow! Interesting new food, I am really interested in the Fetta dish, must look up a recipe. Thanks , great photos as usual…

    • Daisy@Nevertoosweet May 30, 2013 at 9:51 am Reply

      Thank you Peita ๐Ÿ™‚ I am really still trying to learn how to use my new camera hehe hope you find a recipe and will make it at home soon ~

  6. viveka May 29, 2013 at 9:58 pm Reply

    Wow, what a post … I have never eaten Afghan food … your photos are fantastic and I would go for any of those dishes. Chicken with the saffron dressing … perfect lunch for me .. plus a dessert of course. That cake plate … looks good.
    Fantastic job as always.

    • Daisy@Nevertoosweet May 30, 2013 at 11:34 am Reply

      Thanks Viveka ๐Ÿ™‚ I think you will really like Afghan food because I enjoyed it tremendously hehe and the chicken dish was delish would be great to have for after work dinner ๐Ÿ™‚

      • viveka May 30, 2013 at 7:26 pm Reply

        I don’t think we have any Afghan restaurant nearby – we don’t have where I live – but London must have, so next time. Had Lebanese food and that is fantastic.

  7. helene dsouza May 29, 2013 at 10:09 pm Reply

    That’s so my kind of food that they serve there. Mourgh chicken yum!! yoghurt is such a great marination for chicken right? I enjoy going to the museum and I miss it here in India.They don’t have much museums here in fact i just know one and you can’t even make pictures in there but the old paintings get spoiled because people touch them (ridiculous right?)

    • Daisy@Nevertoosweet May 30, 2013 at 11:45 am Reply

      Definitely agree that yoghurt is crucial to marinating chicken to make it super moist and tender ๐Ÿ™‚ Wow I’m shocked that there are no musuems in India I would’ve thought there were plenty due to the history that India offers a shame really because it would be nice for them to exhibit their art and other historical artefacts ~ hope you will get to visit the museums when you go back to Europe ๐Ÿ˜€

  8. Cara @ Gourmet Chick May 29, 2013 at 10:58 pm Reply

    This looks pretty impressive – especially since I don’t know much about Afghanistani food. Good to have a decent and interesting offering at a museum as well rather than the usual fare.

    • Daisy@Nevertoosweet May 30, 2013 at 11:49 am Reply

      That’s exactly how I felt as well Cara ๐Ÿ™‚ I was worried because normally Museum food isn’t that tasty hehe but i’ll happily return here for some more fudge!

  9. john@kitchenriffs May 30, 2013 at 12:33 pm Reply

    I love going to museums! And I’ve had some surprisingly good meals in them, particularly art museums. I know very little about Afghan food, but from the description of your lunch it sounds as if I’d like it. Fun post – thanks so much.

    • Daisy@Nevertoosweet June 2, 2013 at 12:50 pm Reply

      Thank you for the comment ๐Ÿ™‚ I think most of us would like to go to more museums it we had the time ~ it was a fun and delicious mean would love to go back!

  10. libishski May 30, 2013 at 1:31 pm Reply

    I’ve only had Afghan food once at a restaurant in Dandenong… and all we had were kebabs hahaha! I’m definitely down for trying more ‘legit’ stuff though.

    I’ve always loved museums but there’s never enough time for me to visit the ones in Melbourne. I do know that students get in to more museums for free though so might take advantage of it before I graduate haha.

    Oh, and congrats on being featured in Food writer Friday! I agree with everything Maureen has said ๐Ÿ˜€

    • Daisy@Nevertoosweet June 2, 2013 at 12:49 pm Reply

      Awww thanks Libby that’s so sweet of you!!! Ohhh i didn’t know students get a discount to museums! You definitely should use it soon ๐Ÿ™‚

      I wanna go back and check out the exhibition too seems really interesting but like you just wished I had more time hehe never have the time to go!

  11. Sophie Wang (@aecliss) May 31, 2013 at 6:53 am Reply

    That looks like a lot of good food!!! And the fudge ๐Ÿ™‚

  12. Ashley May 31, 2013 at 8:38 am Reply

    It was such a fun afternoon and rather educational, I want all that lamb sandwich again…mmm!

    • Daisy@Nevertoosweet June 2, 2013 at 12:43 pm Reply

      Agreed very educational indeed I don’t like lamb but loved the fudge!

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