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Monday, 11 April 2011

On Magic Carpet to Afghanistan

Monday night invitation to dinner at the Afghan Horsemen was accepted and the three-hours eating adventure begun. Charming ambiance, charming company and charming waitress who everyone assumed she is from Afghanistan only to find out she is Egyptian, which, for me, is even twice as charming.

The appetizer platter included familiar tastes from different countries: Salata (which tasted more Greek than what I imagine Afghani salad to be), Humus (badly done, leave that to Lebanese), Sabzi Mast (a spinach dip - my favourite), and Boulany & Sambosa (different dough, same stuffing, nice subtle coriander taste, but otherwise very much like the Indian samosas). But the score for appetizers are the little Chicken Pakawra - we could have devoured three of those platters. 

Then the feasting begun on three different versions of lamb (shank, shoulder and kebabs) accompanied with a selection of Afghani specialties...
- Kabuli Palaw; baked rice that is nothing special on its own, but once you add the Kabuli (mixture of sweet-spicy carrots with almonds and raisins), the whole taste experience changes.
- Badenjan Borani; baked eggplants with herbs and topped with Chaka (sour cream and yogurt) that was mushy enough, but not enough flavour.
- Spinach; by far my favourite, think of a lemony version of creamed spinach without the cream.
- Potatoes; roasted and fried version - nothing to write home about.

And then there was dessert! Almost every item on the menu was ordered. Rice pudding was the best - flavour, texture, sweetness, that is what magic carpets should have all the time. The milk pudding was identical to the Lebanese Sahlab (learn more at Sahlab Breakfast) but not as good when served cold.

Two versions of the same ice-cream were served. This was your basic vanilla ice-cream sold in bulk at some store. The Afghani version had it sprinkled with cardamon and pistachio while the basic version was simply a huge bowl of ice-cream. Chunks of dark chocolate though appeared miraculously from the hostess' purse to enhance and liven the taste.

The Afghan Horsemen Restaurant
1833 Anderson Street, #202
 Vancouver, BC
Afghan Horsemen on Urbanspoon
Thank you for dinner charming Mirjana
Shoukran jazillan la Meer.

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