A few weeks ago I sort of accidentally ended up in France.
It was staycation that got out of hand. I’d planned to maybe visit one of the Channel Islands for a few days but with a low mood and frustrated temperament I couldn’t physically restrain myself from booking an incredibly reasonably priced flight to Rennes. From there, the coastal seaside town of Saint-Malo seemed the most attractive option, so I was shortly on a train whizzing through the delightful village-dotted countryside of Brittany. Running away from my problems? Yes. Doing it in style? Also yes.
Whilst in Saint-Malo I intended to track down some of the traditional Breton delicacies such as Ker-y-pom and Kouign-Amann but also took a glance at Google Maps just to see if there might be any interesting restaurants in this welcoming seaside town.
What did I find? Kaboul Gastronomie, Afghan Restaurant. Did I read that right? I couldn’t quite believe my luck! What a pleasant surprise to find a restaurant for a pretty much unknown cuisine, representing an amazing country which is generally classified as too dangerous to visit, in the heart of Saint-Malo of all places. This was an opportunity too good to resist.
Kaboul Gastronomie is located in Rue de Toulouse, a quiet road you are unlikely to just stumble upon, close to the Porte de Dinan. Whilst the road is not the easiest to find, the restaurant certainly is, with its distinctive red doors and plentiful blue signage.
Inside the restaurant (which looks remarkably like a sauna with all the wood paneling) you’re greeted by Afghan music, interesting decor and a very attentive waiter.
Partly out of uncontrollable British politeness, for the first time in my life I accepted a waiter’s recommendations, even though he suggested I have their meat-filled dumplings (because similar dishes I tried in SE Europe were not happy experiences.)
First to arrive was the traditional Afghan bread which came with a very hot sauce made from green chilies (I think it was called achar). As you can see from the photo, the bread was a bit greasy but incredibly delicious, it was still warm which helped and the sauce, although very hot was absolutely amazing. I could have just eaten this over and over and been very happy. (I’m clearly very easily pleased).
Next to arrive was the Borani Banjan a dish of cooked aubergine slices served with a white sauce and garnished with parsley and chives. The aubergine was so soft and sweet, not bitter at all. The presentation was great too. Very impressed.
Last to arrive was the mantoo – the Afghan version of what the Turkish call mantı, a meat-filled dumpling, sometimes described as ‘Turkish ravioli’. Despite my previously bad experiences with this meal, the version I was presented at Kaboul Gastronomie was the best yet. Really tasty meat, well-seasoned and with a casing more like pasta than the slimy and heavy dumplings I had had in Georgia and Turkey. Excellent job.
The evening had been really enjoyable and I left Kaboul Gastronomie feeling very satisfied at having been able to experience this amazing cuisine with such high quality dishes in a really welcoming environment.
If I return to Saint-Malo I’ll definitely be paying a visit to this amazing Afghan restaurant again.