The newest halal hot spot for East African barbeque to hit the streets of Richmond Hill, north of Toronto, opened recently. While on a trip to Toronto, we were invited to stop in for a bite. The promise of barbequed meats made fresh to order, hot off the grill was hard to pass up. A vendor in Dar es Salam in East Africa by the same name is quite popular and famous for their grilled delights, so we had high hopes for this North American spot and were not disappointed.
The menu is fairly focused on East African inspired cuisine. The star of the show is by far the beef mishkaki which are soft tender spicy beef cubes grilled on a skewer. Served with a side of dry coleslaw and masala fries, it’s definitely filling meal. Another fan favorite is the beef short ribs. In line with their East-African roots, Nundo sticks are available (grilled pieces of fat on skewers…don’t knock it till you try it, but be sure you know a good heart surgeon when you do).
Also a favorite item is the seasoned whole chicken or chicken mishkaki if beef is not for you that day.
The sides of masala fries or perri fries are not to be left out and are an essential part of enjoying the meal, so be sure to include those in your order.
Located in an industrial complex around mechanic shops and warehouse space, Muchachos is nestled in to the corner spot and can be a little difficult to spot from the street if you’re not familiar with the complex. It is located in the same unit as Toppings, a former Halal fast food and pizza spot that moved further south to a larger location.
The heat of the grill and aroma of the grilled meats and spices are the first to greet you as you enter the shop. The unit is small with limited dining-in space for parties of 2-4. They note they are expanding their dining area in the future. There is a restroom on site and there is ample parking in front.
While dine-in is the preferred way to enjoy fresh made to order barbeque, most patrons, who live in the area a short distance away take it to go given the limited seating. Also, given the nature of the menu, most items take some time to be prepared and cooked properly, so it is best to call ahead and place your order.
At Muchachos, the portions and quality flavours justify a higher price point for a meal and so the pricing is quite reasonable. the mishkaki (2 skewers) combo with fries and a drink will run you around $10-14 CDN. One of their specialty burger combo can cost in the $8-12 CDN range.
Muchachos is surrounded by a large East African community who are nostalgic for foods to remind them of their roots. The smoky meats with spicy aromas do just that. In addition, they have other island classics like Zanzibar Mix (which we didn’t get a chance to try). While the location may be a little difficult to find and the dine-in space limited, all is forgotten when you take your first bite. Definitely worth a visit if you’re in the area.