By The Midshifters, Elisabeth Morgan & Joie Gerhardt 

For this review, we knew we’d be stopping by Fatima’s Cafe, an East African restaurant located on West Boylston St. in Worcester, or, you know, Gold Star Boulevard. 

As an ode to the service industry, we’ve decided that we’ll ask front of house staff from our previous dining adventure to direct us to our next; Fatima’s Cafe was recommended to us by the Wooden Bar team who beamed over how great their food is. 

We knew that this time around we’d be ordering takeout, and the dark clouds and intervals of rain on this particular day only justified that decision. Maya, Joie’s three-year-old daughter, also joined us for our adventure, adding a little bit more flare to our day.

Joie called in our order after we decided that we’d share everything, which meant we were eating all vegan- much to Elisabeth’s excitement.

Ordering vegan proved not to be difficult. Omar, part owner of Fatima’s Cafe and partner to Fatima, animated and excited over the phone, exclaimed that all vegetables are made vegan- and that he had “one stick” of butter in the entire restaurant but it is reserved for his own personal use. We couldn’t help but laugh, his personality over the phone only made us more thrilled to go pick up our food.

Once we arrived at Fatima’s, we made the mistake of pulling up to their take-out window to retrieve our meal, but Omar inside waved us to the front door. 

“You didn’t say that you were writing an article for Pulse,” he exclaimed. Elisabeth felt like Omar was a long lost friend- had she known this man her whole life, or was it just that he eluded that type of friendliness that made you feel like you had? Either way, she apologized for not giving a heads up, and he laughed and told her a story about how important Pulse was to the opening of his restaurant.  

Inside there are a few tables and walls covered in African paintings, warm and inviting. As Elisabeth waited for Omar to finish packing up their food, they discussed the importance of supporting small, family run businesses in our neighborhoods. Before parting ways, Omar suggested that we wash our hands and eat with them, so of course that was the plan- yes Chef!

Maya judged us while we sat and took pictures of our food, but somehow our confidence stayed intact. Judgment from a three-year-old can be crippling. 

We had ordered drinks, veggie samosas, chapatti, an Ethiopian Anjero platter, and a veggie wrap. Clearly, we were hungry.

The breakdown:

Kenya chai tea:

Fatima’s fruit juice (strawberry and ginger):  Perfectly sweet with a touch of ginger- this was the perfect, light, little pick me up while setting up our plates.

Veggie samosas: Chef’s kiss. Came with a spicy cilantro sauce, but otherwise not spicy. We chose the lentil samosas options, which were meaty and encompassed by a soft, pastry-like exterior. 

Chapatti: A soft, unleavened flatbread that was perfect to use in place of a spoon. Easy to rip apart, easy to fall in love with. 

Ethiopian Anjero platter: A whole bunch of perfectly stewed veggies! We had green lentils, cabbage, and a mixed assembly of soft eggplant, potatoes, and peppers. These veggies had a little heat to them, which we thoroughly enjoyed, and their homely East African spices comforted us on such a dreary day. 

Veggie wrap: The softest sandwich we’ve ever had, like biting into a pillow. A mix of stewed veggies with African spices, wrapped in a soft, toasted pita-like bread. It melted in our mouths and was jazzed up with some heat. 

To sum it up- Fatima’s Cafe provided us with the perfect, cozy, stay at home meal. We had fun eating with our hands and getting messy. We suggest you stop in and try out their food, and make sure to chat with the owners, who we found to be the best part of the entire experience.