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“But we come here all the way from Sydney!”

Have you ever begged out of desperation, hoping to get into a fully booked restaurant for a meal? Well, we have; with no shame as we begged to dine at Parwana, an Afghan restaurant tucked in the suburb of Torrensville in Adelaide. As soon as we walk through the door, the daughter immediately tells us that it is fully booked for the night; while the father who is also the owner of the restaurant, is busy dismantling few tables for a group booking to cater some last minute early walk-ins.

“You sure you can’t fit us in?” We beg hard, alright? The daughter apologies sincerely and insists that they couldn’t fit more in. We are feeling a little disappointed after trekking all the way here from CBD to be turn away. We walk out the restaurant, gutted, but somehow finding ourselves standing outside and not quite leaving! As we are fumbling through our phones to look for other options around the area, the father comes out of the restaurant and extremely apologetic.

“But we come here all the way from Sydney and we can eat fast?!” We beg again. Finally the father succumbs to peer pressure and finally let us grab the last single table, so long we can finish our meal in 45 minutes. Oh, that’s a no brainer, of course we can and follow him back into the restaurant and quickly grab the last seat.

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The restaurant is as noisy as a mosh pit, it sure sends a great vibe around the Middle East inspired room under the dimly lit pendant lights and the crimson red walls. It is strictly no alcohol in Afghan customs, but diners are more than welcomed to BYO.

Since we only have 45 minutes, we have to plot the plan of attack. First, send our order in to the kitchen before everyone else does.

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Banjaan borani: eggplant slices simmered in a fresh tomato sauce, topped with garlic yoghurt dressing and garnished with paprika and mint – 14.00

The best dish we’ve ordered this evening is the Banjaan Borani; slices of eggplant are meltingly soft from the long simmering in fresh tomato sauce and garlicky yoghurt dressing to add a tangy note to the richness of the dish.

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Mantu – Steamed cabbage dumplings in meat and yoghurt sauce – 20.00

Dumpling culture must have crossed the seven seas, it even has the same name, Mantu, in both Afghan and Chinese cuisines. These slippery suckers are filled with steamed cabbage, then dressed in a lamb mince and yoghurt sauce. Despite it is a little bit on the pricey side, there is always something so comforting about dumplings, like a nonna’s warm hug.

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Kabuli palaw: an aged long grain rice topped with caramelised carrots, sultanas, slivered almonds and pistachios – 18.00

We order some rice to go with our main meat dish. This staple dish is moreish, the day old fragrant long grain rice is cooked with caramelised carrots, sweetened by sultanas; slivered almonds and pistachios add the crunch. Again, it is a little pricey.

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Chopan Kebab – Grilled marinated lamb kebab with naan, salata and parwana chutney – 25.00

The Chopan Kebab is a good portion to share between the two of us. Chunks of grilled marinated lamb meat is served with naan, salata and parwana chutney on the side. The lamb has a subtle smokey flavour from the grill, albeit can do a little longer in the grill as they are still a little chewy.

We have had an enjoyable meal, not overwhelmed by it as we find Afghan food is not a whole lot different to any other Middle Eastern food we’ve tried.

And the best part, we finished our meal in 35 minutes!

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Parwana Afghan Restaurant
124b Henley Beach Rd
Torrensville, SA
 
Opening hours:
Tue – Sun, for dinner
Sat – Sun, for lunch

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