Out of Africa

We ate lunch at the new restaurant Out of Africa this afternoon. It’s located on the University Ave. strip in Charlottetown, right across from Swiss Chalet. The food was very good: I had a couple of vegetarian samosas — similar in form to those at The Noodle House, but much spicier — and a plate of fried rice with nicely spiced vegetables. Catherine had the same, and also had the goat currie, which she was was equally tasty, although very spicy. We were given a couple of pieces of banana cake for free, which was a nice way to finish the meal off.

Staff were very friendly and accommodating. Decor was uninspiring — basically of the “1970s plywood lunch bar in Smooth Rock Falls” school of architecture, but it was clean and well set up.

We’ll be back for sure.

Comments

Rob Paterson's picture
Rob Paterson on August 10, 2003 - 16:44

I enjoyed it as well and will make this my good quick meal stop.

Brad Pineau's picture
Brad Pineau on August 11, 2003 - 07:55

Goat currie? You wont see me trying that!

Alan's picture
Alan on August 11, 2003 - 12:25

Brady’s a fraidy. Goat fraidy Brad.

Linda's picture
Linda on August 11, 2003 - 16:09

A vote for another promising choice: the Sunrise Chinese Restaurant(beside Cedars), formerly Silver Streams(?) and under new management (a family from Saskatchewan has taken it over). They are trying very hard to determine what Islanders want and so do the usual buffet fare, but I believe they would be willing to make more exotic dishes if asked. As it is, the buffet is quite good quality. Hurry before they become disenchanted and frustrated with lack of interest despite their best efforts, and return to the very small, but supportive town they left (apparently because of the poor air quality)

Rob Paterson's picture
Rob Paterson on August 12, 2003 - 01:07

having lunch tomorrow at OOA. Hope to interview our esteemed cook and comment back here with her story.

Jevon's picture
Jevon on August 12, 2003 - 13:06

I have heard great things about Sunrise, including that it’s much better than what we have come to expect from fast-food Chinese.

Rob Paterson's picture
Rob Paterson on August 13, 2003 - 03:36

I returned today for another delicious lunch to find that most of the tables were full of people that I know already. Great word of mouth here.

The owner is called Makena, or “happy face”. She has been on the Island for a year and ia married to a guy from Cameroon who works at DVA in Montreal. She is the special lady who organized the clothing drive last year for Africa.

I asked her how she had the courage to open an African Restauarant on PEI. She has a similar formula to the silverorange folks — she gets connected and gives us what we want. She began as a Somosa Queen in Montreal. So she knew one thing that worked and made thousand of them at home. When she came to PEI she went door to door and to the folks at DVA and offered her cooking first hand. She has a cash based business based on real demand and real revenue.

Many took her up and she has a thriving catering business. So she built her business brick by brick and by going out in person. She was doing all of this from home and a tiny kitchen.

Many of her catering customers convinced her to open a restaurant. This gave her a much bigger kitchen.If the restaurant did not do too well gave her room to expand her catering business.

I asked about the location. She told me that it was working well. She is at a nexus of 4 restaurants but she offers something very different. She is getting lots of Swiss Chalet walk across the road and staff business. Being just down the road from CBC she gets a lot of business there as well. Could be the Beanz of CBC?

Makena is charming and I find that you get a piece of her with every meal. She reminds me that food made with passion and love is quite different from factory food. You dine in effect in her house. Quite special

Rob Paterson's picture
Rob Paterson on August 13, 2003 - 03:37

P S Goat curry — hard to get as there are no goats to eat on PEI. She has to wait for her husband to bring them back from Montreal.

PPS she hates the snow but her kids love it.

try the banana fritters

Makena Ambassa's picture
Makena Ambassa on January 16, 2004 - 04:35

Hi Rob,

This is the “happy face” Makena, thanks a million for the piece you have mailed. One quick correction though, It is not goat curry but I offer Lamb Curry. One more quick note Rob, there is a group of people going to my village in Kenya from 23/01/04 to see how they can be of help our people there. I feel so blessed to get so much love and Help from the Islanders. May God bless the Islanders. Thanks Rob and hope you are enjoying the —  which is too cold for me.Makena.

Wendell Pilgrim's picture
Wendell Pilgrim on March 8, 2004 - 03:34

Hi Makena,

I saw you on CBC’ “Culture Shock” and was happy to see a Kenyan coming to Canada, especially P.E.I., and doing so well. It speaks volumes as to the character of Canadians and P.E.I., in particular. I would like to contribute to your shipment of clothing etc. to Kenya and have a fair amount of items available. Perhaps you could advise me as to how best to get them to you, as I am in Toronto.

I look forward to hearing from you soon.

cassandra's picture
cassandra on May 4, 2004 - 15:06

hey Makena! ur doing an awsome job at ur resturant and are doing wonders in all of our lives and we are blessed to have you and your family here. hope to see you soon.
with love cassandra

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