Eat, Lifestyle, Reviews

Community Dining at Tamil Feasts

The We Know Melbourne team are always looking for new and exciting places to eat, places to try that are bit different, but still delicious and provide a true gastronomic experience. Last night we discovered just that! Heading out to Ceres in Brunswick we joined a community of diners who had to come to try Tamil Feasts.

Tamil Feasts is a social enterprise supporting recently settled asylum seekers through the celebration of food and culture. Initially starting just over a year ago, the feasts were initially only supposed to be a one-off event, but they were so popular they had to hold more. They now serve twice-weekly feasts (vegetarian/vegan on Tuesdays, meat/vegetarian on Mondays) , prepared by four Tamil men currently seeking asylum in Australia.

Our feast last night was a 3 course vegetarian banquet which started off with bhajis, a small flat cake or ball of vegetables, fried in batter. Delicious and crispy, it was the perfect dish to whet our appetite! The feast then continued to include a thali type plate serving a mixture of curries including Capsicum & Potato Curry, Green Leek Dahl, Banana Chilli Curry and Garlic Chutney. Each a flavour explosion on their own, the curries had the right amount of spice without burning our taste buds (although we must admit, we do love spice), with our favourite being the Banana Chilli Curry. We couldn’t help but go back for seconds! To finish off the banquet, we were served a vegan style dessert that is found all across Sri Lanka, the jangerey. The fluorescent orange colour of the dessert popped off the plate and the sweetness of the dish was the perfect way to end a giant feast.

While we are raving about the food, the experience itself took it up another level. Before our main course we got to hear from the four Tamil chefs, Nigethan, Sri, Nirma and Niro, and their story of how they got to where they are now. For most of them, they had been locked in detention for up to 6 years before getting this opportunity to become chefs of Tamil Feasts, which created immediate part-time employment for them, providing them with a pathway to future work within the hospitality industry! Along with the volunteers of the evening (it’s National Volunteer Week, so shout outs to them), they were able to run Tamil Feasts every Monday and Tuesday! Humble and gracious, their speeches filled our hearts with joy and we realised that by eating here, we were eating for a cause (and of course, amazing Tamil food). The whole evening was an intimate affair, with the opportunity to meet and talk to the Tamil men to hear their stories, and also to meet and connect  with others on our communal table.

We walked away from the evening with our hearts filled, our bellies full and of course a takeaway container full of Tamil curries for lunch for the next day!

When: 6:30pm Monday & Tuesdays, weekly

Where: Ceres, Brunswick

Visit the Tamil Feasts website.

We Know Melbourne tip: Bring cash if you want to buy alcoholic drinks at the bar and make sure to keep $5 aside for your takeaway container!
Dine for $20 this Tuesday, 17 May! Email us at ask@weknowmelbourne for the special deal!