Mama Asha Cafe is a neighbourhood atom with an all-embracing perspective, accouterment a aftertaste of east Africa that is at already abating and exotic.
Saharla Aden is the buyer of Mama Asha Cafe, which specializes in Somali cuisine. Greg Southam / Postmedia
It’s consistently a amusement to seek out aliment from addition allotment of the angel and, in the process, acquisition a hidden gem in a sometimes abandoned allotment of your own city.
Mama Asha Cafe is aloof such a place, in the best all-embracing of Edmonton neighbourhoods, aloof off 118th Avenue on 95th Street. The aliment is east African — from Somalia to be exact — and if you’ve never had it, it’s absolutely account trying.
The backward little café is ablaze and sparkling clean, with white tables and chairs, atramentous and blah accents, plank-style coat flooring, and a big window forth the advanced bank with a adverse and bar stools beneath. A ablaze t blind can be fatigued beyond an aing allowance for clandestine gatherings.
It’s a simple and accidental spot, area diners adjustment at a adverse at the back, by the kitchen. We had to ask for a card — this is the affectionate of abode area barter are audience who adjustment after one. But on anniversary of my two visits, two altered but appropriately affable women were blessed to advice us, anecdotic the aliment and alms recommendations.
The single-page card has a area for breakfast (all-day), appetizers, plates and wraps. The restaurant is accessible for breakfast, cafeteria and banquet (from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday to Saturday).
I begin out about Mama Asha Cafe from my blogger acquaintance Linda, who is consistently on the coursing for acceptable food, decidedly aback it comes at arrangement prices. The wraps are a absolute accord at $8 anniversary — as big as a able-bodied acquaint abounding with craven or beef sautéed with onions and peppers, additional bill and amazon — and fabricated with a Somali flatbread alleged sabaayad that is agnate to an Indian chapati.
I autonomous for a ‘plate’ — a deconstructed adaptation of the blanket that includes a basin of either beef or craven (I approved a mix of both) sautéed with onions and peppers in a delicious, cumin-scented booze with a lemony aroma and ambrosial heat. A ancillary bloom of bill and tomatoes and a wee cup of blooming chili booze completed the plate. Linda had rice and pasta instead of the flatbread, which fabricated for a ridiculous-sized cafeteria platter, abnormally for $12. The pasta, a bank of spaghetti in amazon sauce, seemed at allowance with the blow of the food, but I after apprehend that it’s a accepted ancillary bowl in Somalia — a comestible holdover from Italy’s colonization of east Africa.
Saharla Aden is the buyer of Mama Asha Cafe, amid at 11745 95 St. Greg Southam / Postmedia
I was analytical to try the breakfast, so I went aback to Mama Asha Cafe with my accomplice the aing day. We approved the shakshuka ($11), which I’d consistently anticipation of as a Middle Eastern dish, but it allegedly originated in North Africa. It’s usually a aberration of eggs poached in amazon sauce. The adaptation at Mama Asha was a mix of accolade eggs and a rich, appetizing amazon booze blubbery with onions and peppers. It too came with the balmy and admirable sabaayad flatbread that I had been cerebration about back the day before.
We additionally approved the anjero, declared as a Somali sourdough crepe. If you’ve had Ethiopian food, it’s agnate to the spongy, injera flatbread, but lighter, abate and beneath sour. We topped it off with Somali coffee (qahwa), flavoured with beginning ginger, cardamom and cinnamon.
The café is small, with alone four tables and a adverse with a few stools in the capital room, additional two beyond tables in the aing room. Don’t go unannounced with a army or you’ll acceptable beat the apprehensive operation. On my visits, two women staffed the café, both alive mostly in the kitchen and authoritative an actualization alone to booty orders at the adverse and bear aliment to the tables.
Next time I’d like to try the samosas (called sambuus), abounding with beef, chicken, adolescent or vegetables — addition arrangement at $1.50 each. The mango agitate and blooming agitate (kale, spinach, pineapple, mango and angel juice) additionally looked impressive.
For those agog to analyze a new cuisine, Mama Asha Cafe offers a aftertaste of east Africa that is at already abating and alien — a neighbourhood café with an all-embracing perspective.
MAMA ASHA CAFE
Location: 11745 95 St.
Hours: Monday to Saturday 9 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Price: Banquet for 2 (no liquor available), about $25-$30
Noise level: Low
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