#KlaRestaurantWeek: Little Donkey
“The Only Authentic Mexican Restaurant in Kampala.” Not our words, but words worth keeping in mind as you dig into Kisuggu’s best kept secret, Little Donkey. Restaurants have been renowned as convenient fronts for shady business, but The Little Donkey is actually a front for a vocational school where students learn, amongst other things, the art of whipping up a good meal and making some money doing it. Little Donkey is the guacamole-capped-tip of an iceberg working to fill bellies and minds in Kisuggu, but for Kampala Restaurant Week they will be demonstrating their claim to authenticity with an exclusively priced menu of Mexican favourites.
How do you explain Nachos to someone who has never had nachos before?
It’s a plateful of corn chips (freshly ground maize, deep fried) covered in melted cheese and guacamole and whatever else you can get on there.
And how does one know a good plate of nachos when they see one? It has to be a mess.
A mess of melted cheese, of guacamole, salsa, meat or beans. It also has to have the right ratio of ingredients, well distributed, so that the nachos at the bottom of the plate are not dry while the ones at the top drip with cheese and guacamole. Nachos are an exercise in controlled chaos. As you pull a flavour laden chip away from the pile, strings of molten cheese hold on with lax elasticity, and as you chew down on it a chewy, crunchy, delicious riot ensues in your mouth. It is a great meal to share as a starter or to die doing what you love, if you eat it alone.
Tortillas (Chapatti’s Mexican cousin) are layered with cheese and salsa that is grilled, melted, cut into triangular slices and served with guacamole and refried beans.
To some, it tastes like an inside out margarita pizza, to others, a thin grilled cheese sandwich. The subtle, almost sweet taste of avocado in the guacamole punches up the flavour of this delicious dish, and a liberal dipping of refried beans makes for a filling meal.
Remember those nacho chips? Now if the ground maize wasn’t cut up and deep fried, but instead rolled out and grilled, you have the hard shell of the taco, ready to be filled to capacity.
The taco shell has a strong, earthy flavour from the use of maize rather than wheat, requiring it to be stuffed with filling that balances it out. Though strips of marinated, grilled steak are the headlining act, they are buffeted in a generous amount of fresh peppers (green, red and yellow), feta and, of course; guacamole. The peppers provide the most dominant flavour, combining well with the smokey steak and balancing out with the light tasting, crumbly feta.
If you are starting to see a pattern of ingredients widely used in Mexican food including guacamole, maize and cheese, do add beans to the list.
The black bean variety is used in this burrito is wrapped tightly into a tortilla with cooked rice, beans, shredded chicken and (wait for it) guacamole; served with salsa and chips. Did I mention it is massive?
Imagine the thickness of a bundle of four rolexes filled with all the above!
As you bite into the soft tortilla, you are met by the warm, soft mush of rice, beans, chicken, avocado and realise they might have to roll you out. The restaurant actually gets its name from this classic Mexican staple, as the direct translation for the word Burrito from Spanish to English is “Little Donkey.”
What better way to wrap up a culinary trip to Mexico (cough, Kisuggu, cough) than with churros? Little Donkey’s churros, instead of looking like dark fingers of deep-fried batter, are long, thin, curly and golden brown (they look like onion rings from far).
These tendrils of crispy sweetness are fun to share and disentangle as you dip them in either the cinnamon or vanilla flavoured icing sugar dip. Because of the icing sugar, the dip’s surface quickly solidifies into a beautiful, thin film so that you have to crack it open with every dip, making every bite feel like the first.
You may find Little Donkey at:
Plot 4286 Henry Ford Close, Mbogo Rd Kibuli
Tel: +256 414 692 827
Photography: Julius Caesar Kasujja