Tuesday 26 December 2006

le kilimanjaro - east african cuisine

Le Kilimanjaro East African Eatery
280 King Street
Newtown, Sydney
T: +61 2 9557 4565

This is not the first time I’ve visited Le Kilimanjaro, an East African restaurant on the main street of bohemian Newtown. Food here is extremely interesting in a suburb where pub grub, Indian and Thai reign supreme.

I love this tiny space and the owners, dressed in their traditional Senegalese clothes – long white gowns for the men and bright, flourishing colours for the women.

This time I visited with a Japanese friend, Taka, and tried a wide range of dishes.

The menu is on a board on the wall and customers make their selection before the arrival of gorgeous wooden plates. This small touch adds authenticity and excitement before the food even arrives.

First to arrive were the drinks. Bissap ($4) is the glowing red nectar of hibiscus flowers and has a sweet earthy flavour. A ginger based drink ($4) has a spicy bite and delicious honey sweetness. I liked the bissap but adored the ginger drink.

Next came an asparagus dish ($6) not listed on the menu. It was steamed to crunchy perfection and topped with a thick sauce of various spices, tamarind and peas. This was very fresh and had a nice afterglow.

Niamdoli ($6) was tangy salad of cucumber and tomato smothered in a yoghurt, saffron and mint sauce. These chucky cut vegetables and the dairy component were a cooling influence compared to the spiciness of other dishes.

To mop up all the juices we ordered perfumed couscous ($6) and soft flat bread ($2 per piece) which were savoury crepes.

In ndambe ($12.50) cubed marinated lamb is steamed then smothered in a sauce of spices, tomatoes, lentils, kidney beans and vegetables, such as pumpkin. The lamb was a little dry in this dish, but the flavours were excellent.

Soussou-Gorgiguan ($12.50) was steamed boneless tuna served with spices and tamarind. This is my favourite dish with the warm spices deliciously complimenting the sour tamarind. The menu explains that in Wolof (both a Senegalese tribe and their language) the word “gorgiguan” means ‘homosexual’. I have no idea how this dish got its name or what tuna has to do with homosexuality, but one thing is clear: it’s extremely tasty.

Overall, this is a great little restaurant with a casual atmosphere and unique range of dishes. Vegetarians won’t go hungry with eight dishes dedicated to their eating pleasure. With the total bill for two coming in at $60 (including a tip), it’s not cheap but it is reasonably priced for a rare taste of African. I’ve been before and I will visit again.

Le Kilimanjaro on Urbanspoon


1 comment:

  1. Sounds like a great place, Anna! I've had bissap on my list of things to make (and post about!) for awhile, but have never heard of niamdoli before - I have to find a recipe and give it a try.

    Happy new year!


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