I used to ride past this little unassuming Somalian joint on Carlton Street almost every day in my first year of university. Finally, I decided I would go in. And the rest, as they say, is history. Since then, it's become my top spot when I'm hungry, exhausted, in a rush and in need of soul food.
The place may look small from the front, but walk in and you have about two levels of semi-decadence. Warm lighting, lots of seating, cute decorations and BBC playing from the giant flat-screen on the wall. When I walked in and heard the broadcast from UK, I knew this was the place for me.
It seems like everything you order is ten bucks: no more and no less. No matter what I order, I never seem to pay more than ten bucks. Maybe it's just me, but this same experience is corroborated by a lot of other Hamdi regulars.
Sure, the food is not Yorkville refined and the menu is not super diverse. It's short, sweet and to the point. It's true "home food" perfect for a cold winter's day. The servings are huge and, for ten bucks, worth every penny. So what if the bathrooms are a little sketch? And yes, the waiters are not at your beck and call at every minute. But it's a lot of fun to just hang out and chill. Whenever I go with friends, I pull up some extra chairs, put my feet up and stay even after the meal is done. As a student, I'd much rather go some place a little less formal - but with lots of charm and personality.
The last time I was there I ordered the signature dish " Rice & Roasted Goat meat." And with every meal comes the Somalian signature accessories: a banana and mango juice!
And if they forget your banana, tell the waiter he owes you two.
Trust me, it works every time.