whatsapp-image-2016-11-21-at-10-40-42-pm
Watch out biryani, Somalia’s got a strong contender for mixed-rice-dish king of my heart

Bell Street Mall is a world away from Melbourne’s glitzy shopping havens of Chadstone, Emporium, or Highpoint. In fact, it was the first mall in the city – and heading here is like heading back in time.

At ‘the Mall’ (as the locals call it) you’ll find an East African small business heartland and more than one halal eatery. Many of the shops are run by Eritrean or Somalian Australians. The business directory on the mall website has an ‘East African’ category listing this community’s clothing, food, and other stores.

We ate today at Macmacaanka, which is quite an experience – sort of like visiting a Somalian mate’s parents for lunch at their home. There are no menus, no prices, and no EFTPOS. You just go up to the nice brother behind the counter and ask him what he cooked today, remembering to let him know how many people you’re eating with. Then you take a seat at the gloriously Franco Cozzo-esque furniture and after (quite) a while he or one of his workers brings out the food. Patience is a virtue when eating here – although friendly the service is very laid back.

Today’s mains were spicy rice or posto (pasta) with beef, lamb, and fish. The posto got the thumbs up by all in our party of seven. Both the rice and posto came with a hot and delicious light green aioli-like sauce, and a small serve of cucumber slices. The rice wasn’t laden with oil, and the meat and fish were tender and filled with flavour.

Sweet Somali bread and savoury samosas (today’s flavour: fish) are also available during brunch hours (between ten and twelve midday). The bill for the seven of us – including three bottled drinks, and inclusive of free iced water and short-black-sized shots of Somalian coffee – came to a measly $70.

 

whatsapp-image-2016-11-21-at-10-40-41-pm
A tasty (and at $2 a  piece, cheap) alternative to smashed avocado and poached eggs on pretentious toast

Hari ini kami mengunjungi mall pertama Di Melbourne . Ternyata ada beberapa tempat halal disitu. Tempat ini adalah pusat bisnis orang-orang Afrika Timur. Kebanyakan toko2 disitu dipunyai oleh orang-orang Australia yang berasal dari Eritrea dan Somalia. Business directory dari halaman situs kepunyaan Mall dijabarkan tentang bagian toko-toko makanan, pakaian, dan toko-toko lain dari ‘East African’ community ini.

Wah sampai lupa membicarakan menu yg terdapat di restaurant ‘Macmacaanka ‘ ini…Ok, mereka tidak mempunyai menu yg rutin, jadi anda harus bertamya: ada menu apa untuk hari ini…. aneh? Ya begitulah adanya.

Saat kami makan disana mereka katakan ada nasi, daging sapi, kambing, ikan dan posto (pasta, terus terang kami semua suka sekali pastanya) nasi yang tak berlemak, daging-daging yang empuk, beserta ikan dan saladnya. Itulah keberuntungan kami datang senin siang ini. Roti dan samosa juga lumayan enak, tetapi hanya bisa dibeli antar jam 10 s/d jam 12 siang.

Kesabaran sangat diperlukan untuk menjadi kostumer mereka, sepertinya mereka terlalu relax. Seperti tidak mengejar keuntungan­čśŐ Kenyataan ini dibuktikan dgn makan bersama secara “sharing” plus 3 drink dan free Somalian coffee untuk 7 orang & cukup kenyang kita cuma membayar $10/each, sangat murah bukan?

Details
Macmacaanka, 63 The Mall, Heidelberg West, Victoria 3081
Opening hours: from 10am to 6pm; closed Sundays. Call them to confirm on +61 3 9459 8442
No social media
Muslim owned, no pork, halal meat, no alcohol