The bread was supersized, the meals hearty, but did the flavours at Bamiyan Afghan restaurant live up to the generous servings?
The bread was supersized, the meals hearty, but did the flavours at Bamiyan Afghan restaurant live up to the generous servings?

‘This place serves naan bread big enough to use as doona’

The garlic naan bread is so large it could double as a doona for a small child. This supersizing has no impact on its flavour though, it's puffy and charry and pillowy and irresistible. And at $4.50, rather good value too.

The giant naan bread at Bamiyan. Picture: Alison Walsh
The giant naan bread at Bamiyan. Picture: Alison Walsh

The generous meal at Bamiyan Afghan restaurant in New Farm's Brunswick Street is my introduction to the food of the landlocked central Asian country. The menu reveals a lengthy line-up of curries, kebabs, vegetarian concoctions and specialty dishes including beef dumplings, meatballs cooked in a rich tomato sauce and an assortment of pallows (spiced rice dishes). An LED display on the outside wall rotates pictures of the dishes as an explainer to those unfamiliar with the cuisine.

This sibling of the established Camp Hill restaurant of the same name opened in October last year and both are owned by Zahra and Nawab Ali Askary.

The New Farm venue offers an unassuming fit-out, an airy space filled with a multitude of cream plastic cloth-covered tables, with plenty of space for social distancing. The main decorations are several enormous photographs, some of the famous (now destroyed) ancient Buddha statues of Bamiyan province in central Afghanistan, the one closest to us a stunning panorama of lake-filled national park, Band-e-Amir Bamiyan.

Wall panoramas: Afghan restaurant Bamiyan in New Farm. Picture: Mark Cranitch.
Wall panoramas: Afghan restaurant Bamiyan in New Farm. Picture: Mark Cranitch.

We visit twice, once just before the COVID lockdown and recently, adhering to new restricted seating rules. Both times, we're served quickly and dishes arrive promptly and pretty much all at the same time.

 

 

Hearty: Banjan boranee, eggplant with tomato sauce and coriander. Picture: Mark Cranitch.
Hearty: Banjan boranee, eggplant with tomato sauce and coriander. Picture: Mark Cranitch.

 

Palak perikee ($7.90) a pan-fried, traditional flatbread filled with spinach, chopped onion, coriander and spices with a small saucer of yoghurt dipping sauce is a salty, carby joy.

Banjan boranee ($18.90), a tangle of fried eggplant strips doused in a tomato sauce, garnished with coriander and drenched with yoghurt sauce also beguiles with its booming array of hearty, rustic flavours. One of the specialties, Kabuli pallow with lamb ($26.90) looks fit for a celebration and is equally flavoursome. A mound of light basmati rice flavoured with cumin and cardamom and topped with julienned caramelised carrots, sultanas, almonds and nuts hides cubes of tender, slow-cooked lamb pieces drenched in a tan, chilli heat-free curry sauce. A small green salad comes on the side.

And of course we'd gone too far ordering the naan, which to add to our over-catering woes, is suffering from gigantism.

 

Another naan bread at Bamiyan. Picture: Alison Walsh
Another naan bread at Bamiyan. Picture: Alison Walsh

On our second visit we try the steamed beef dumplings known as mantu ($16.90) which have a surprising sweetness about them and are topped with yoghurt sauce and garnished with ground chilli. They're terrific and have the plastic glove-wearing couple of the nearest table in raptures.

Mixed kebabs at Bamiyan. Picture: Mark Cranitch.
Mixed kebabs at Bamiyan. Picture: Mark Cranitch.

There's no alcohol but on offer are cans of soft drink, tea or dogh (a yoghurt drink). But it's BYO with no corkage charged. We stick with the cold bottle of tap water delivered to the table on arrival.

It's a casual restaurant and it may be that the wait staff double as kitchen workers, popping out with dishes or to take orders before disappearing again. They're kept moderately busy on our first visit and on our second, couples are scattered around the restaurant, people pop in to pick up takeaway and there's a large group booked for later, to be seated at a curtained-off space at one end.

Bamiyan is making its mark with its generously portioned, hearty food and the slow-cooked dishes and hot breads seem especially appealing during the current outbreak of cold weather.

Afghan restaurant Bamiyan in New Farm. Picture: Mark Cranitch
Afghan restaurant Bamiyan in New Farm. Picture: Mark Cranitch

 

BAMIYAN

Food 3.5 stars

Ambience 2.5 stars

Service 3 stars

Value 4.5 stars

OVERALL 3.5 stars

 

MUST TRY
Banjan boranee

 

691 Brunswick St, New Farm

0422 777 154
bamiyanrestaurantqld.com.au

 

OPEN
Mon-Wed 4.30-9.30pm, Thur-Sun 11.30am-10pm

 

Originally published as 'This place serves naan bread big enough to use as doona'



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