Reasonable prices and delicious food equals a hit
Just off 118 Avenue and tucked behind Wee Book Inn is an unassuming café with white and grey interior walls serving Somali and Canadian dishes. Dervish Cafe is easy to overlook, but like we are told as children: don’t judge a book by its cover.
When my dinner partner and I walked into Dervish Cafe, the television displaying their menu was down, so a staff member began to tell us what they had. Before long, another customer chimed in with her preferences from the menu, which is always helpful when trying someplace new.
For drinks we ordered a Somali coffee ($1.25) and a Somali tea ($1.25). The tea had cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, and milk and tasted similar to a sweetened masala chai. The coffee contained the same spices and also had sugar, which made it a bit sweet but still appealing. It had a full flavour that seemed to coat the mouth and leave a pleasant aftertaste. Both the tea and the coffee make for a great after dinner treat.
We tried two beef sambusas (Somali samosas) ($1.49) as appetizers. They were small triangular pastry pockets stuffed with beef, onion, and spices, fried until golden and crispy on the outside. Yet, the inner portion of the pastry was fluffy and moist. The beef was flavourfully seasoned without being overwhelming and drawing attention away from either the pastry or the green hot sauce served on the side.
Alongside the sambusas, we shared an order of fries ($3.25). They were exactly what you would expect from fries, nice and crispy.
The fruit bowl ($2.99) on the menu grabbed my companion’s attention. It consisted of strawberries, mangoes, oranges, and apples covered in a mango puree the colour of an egg yolk. The menu listed more of a variety of fruit than we received, but it was definitely not disappointing. The amount of fruit alone in the bowl was worth close to the amount they were charging, let alone the labour of cutting up the fruit. The mango puree was sweet and blended beautifully with each piece of fruit, adding to the flavour of each type of fruit without taking anything away.
Finally, we shared a chicken wrap ($7.99) filled with lettuce, cucumbers, onions, banana peppers, chicken, mayo, and Dervish sauce. The texture of the wrap reminded me of a thin green onion cake. Like the sambusa, the wrap was perfectly crisp on the outside and soft and moist on the inside. The filling was refreshing and tasty. After the first bite, I wished that I had not agreed to share.
I would go again, especially after hearing about the lamb dishes available on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays.
Rating: four-out-of-five forks
11748 81 St
Mon-Fri: 11 am – 11 pm
Sat-Sun: 1 pm – 11 pm
Featured Image: The chicken wrap had a delicious filling and the wrap itself was similar to an onion cake texture. | Stephen Strand