Parwana Afghan Kitchen
An Afghan story of beauty, generosity, and unforgettable food.
August 16, 2020
Zelmai and Farida Ayubi fled Afghanistan during the Cold War with their five young children, and migrated to Australia, where they set up one of Adelaide's most treasured gems.
On the outskirts of the city on Henley Beach Road, Parwana Afghan Kitchen is always bustling. Eclectic tiles, concrete archways and tastefully colourfully walls recreate the beautiful places this family once called home.
Built to share, the menu is best tackled by choosing the restaurant's signature dish — palaw ($18) aged long-grain rice, piled high with the likes of pistachios and pickled carrots — and, around that, as many dishes as you can fit.
The authenticity of flavour and confidence in simple but striking combinations is what makes everything worth trying, but let the words banjaan borani ($15) be the first to escape your lips. Despite the list of ingredients sounding quite minimal — eggplant, rich tomato sauce, garlic yoghurt and mint — it will have you wondering what kind of sorcery could make mere eggplants taste quite like that.
Don't go past the dumplings, either: the ashak ($20), fried and filled with chives; or the mantu ($20), steamed and stuffed with caramelised carrot and sautéed onion. Both come topped with lamb and garlicky yoghurt and can't be too quickly opened.
Images: Josie Withers