As Australia steps further and further into the label of The Cruel Country it is heartening to witness those rare stories that show us we haven’t completely lost our humanity. We had the good fortune to experience one of those moments on Friday night when we went to the Merri Table Café at Ceres in Brunswick East to enjoy a Tamil Feast prepared and served by Tamil asylum seekers.
The goodwill in the room was palpable, and heartening. It is a wonderful thing that the Ceres people are doing as it allows us to show our support for these men who are trying to make a new life for themselves in Australia, as well as letting us enjoy traditional Tamil food. All for the paltry sum of $30 (plus drinks bought at the bar).
We start with a terrific fried onion bhajji. I scoffed mine so quickly, and gleefully, I forgot to take a photograph. But anyone who has ever had onion bhajji in London will recognise them immediately – juicy big fried balls of shredded, caramelised onion. You just don’t get them here. I’m a happy girl.
Before moving on to the Feast plate two of the Tamil men helping serve the food welcome us and tell us a little about themselves. Their English may be a bit hard to follow but their big beaming smiles are easy to understand, it is clear they are enjoying the moment as much as we are. It is then on to the Feast plate – a TV dinner style affair for exotic grown ups, and much tastier.
You are encouraged to go up and get more, if there is any room left in your bulging stomach. And for an extra $5 you can get your BYO plastic food container filled with left overs – that’s tomorrow’s lunch or dinner sorted.
We finish with what looked like a cup of coffee, admittedly with lumps in it, but was actually a liquidy sago and grape dessert.
It was a noisy, happy evening. And what’s not to like about eating good value, tasty food that supports an excellent cause. But, it can only continue as long as there are patrons, so I urge everyone to visit the Ceres website http://tamilfeasts.ceres.org.au/ and make a booking. Tamil Feasts are held every Monday, Tuesday and Friday nights. Go and say WELCOME. #morethanjustameal