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Afghan Masala Restaurant, Forest Hill

Home > Melbourne > Cafes | Cheap | Lunch | Restaurants | Takeaway
by Fiona Anderson (subscribe)
A Melbourne based writer who is a travel junkie, dedicated foodie and emerging photographer.
Published March 18th 2014
Spicing it Up
Sometimes with my dining experiences it seems like I go from the sublime to the ridiculous. One week it's Vue de Monde Restaurant, with all its five star, three hat splendour, the next it's a good, honest suburban restaurant; this time it's the Afghan Masala, Forest Hill. I'm not complaining, I feel very privileged indeed to have such a wide range of experiences.

shop front
Shop front of the Afghan Masala

Afghan Masala is a small restaurant tucked away amid a little strip of restaurants in Springvale Road, located on the north-west side of the uber-busy intersection of Springvale and Canterbury Roads in Forest Hill. The people in the cars whizzing by would hardly know it's there; perhaps they'd prefer to drive on to the crush and bustle of nearby Forest Hill Chase Shopping Centre. I know I wouldn't!

Afghan Masala offers a wide range of Persian cuisine. In fact for a small restaurant, I think it's pretty impressive that they offer 34 savoury dishes (excluding rice and breads)! I have to admit I wasn't really sure what Persian cuisine was until visiting the Afghan Masala. I hope it's not offensive to say it's like a cross between Turkish and Indian cuisines. Certainly, if you are familiar with either cuisine, you will recognise dishes on the menu.

Persian cuisine is on offer at the Afghan Masala

My mother and I visited for lunch on a Tuesday. Arriving around midday, we were the only diners. There was a steady trade of takeaway while we were there, and by the time we left, two other tables were occupied. On this occasion, my mother and I each had the Borani Banjan ($14.50) - 'sliced eggplant topped with lamb mince, yoghurt and mild spices, served with bread'. It was absolutely delicious. It was like a tasty moussaka with chunkier eggplant, but without the heavy béchamel sauce.

Borani Banjan
Borani Banjan

On a previous visit, my mother had the chicken kebab (chicken cubes marinated in fresh lemon, ginger, onion & spices and cooked on charcoal, served with chutney salad, yoghurt and bread) ($11.50), while I had the mixed kebab (same as for chicken kebab except it was marinated lamb mince, chicken and lamb skewers) ($11.50). These dishes were also beautifully cooked and extremely tasty.

Other available dishes include Qabuli tikka kebab ($16.50), chicken vindaloo ($10.90), and mantu (dumplings stuffed with beef/lamb and onion, steamed and topped with yoghurt) ($15.50). There are also sweets/dessert courses available, but I haven't tried them.

Three things I particularly like about this restaurant:

- the food is inexpensive,

- everything is cooked freshly while you wait, or at least it was the times we visited. (The charcoal grill is in view, behind the counter.) There is care in the cooking and preparation - the food is 'made with love', and

- the portion sizes are generous. Mum and I are not particularly big eaters, and on each visit there were leftovers. It was no problem to get a container to transport the excess food home.

I highly recommend the Afghan Masala for a tasty casual lunch or dinner in unpretentious surroundings. The restaurant is open seven days, from 11.00am to 10.00pm. You can BYO if you want to enjoy a drink with your meal.

Interior view
Simple but comfortable decor
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Why? For delicious, inexpensive food in a homely environment
When: Open 11am - 10pm seven days
Phone: (03) 8838 2430
Where: 336 Springvale Rd, Forest Hill
Cost: Inexpensive
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