Masala Kampala: Top 5 Indian Bites this Month
It is well known that India is home to some of the healthiest cuisines in the world. The cuisines have a variety of aromatic spices lined up for their meals and their meat dishes usually consist of chicken, which is generally the more acceptable white meat. Also being a vegetarian country at large, they have learnt many ways of making those dishes very enjoyable. That’s not to say there’s no red meat involved; there is but only limited to goat meat because cows are considered sacred.
Masala, in Luganda, is a term used to mean delicacy.
Even though it refers to the variety of spices ground into a paste or powder, for use in Indian cooking, we think it’s a good representation of Indian food, and Kampala is home to top-notch places you can find this Masala. Here are our top five picks for this month.
Kabira Country Club is located in Bukoto right at the turn to Kisaasi. It’s known more for its health facilities and relaxing swimming pool. However, with their restaurant, it’s a hub for the business person to not only meet clients and partners but also have a great meal while at it.
Kabira has some really delectable offerings; for example, Red Salmon served with a Caper Sauce. If you’re trying out unique tastes, you won’t be disappointed.
A dish you ought to try at Kabira is the Chicken Tikka Masala, served with Jeera Rice (rice with coriander seeds) and Butter Naan with Coriander Leaf. Do you usually have coriander on your Naan? Well, here you can. The coriander gave the Naan a distinct flavour that worked really well with the creamy tikka masala.
So, need a business lunch with Masala? Kabira is perfectly placed.
63 Old Kira Road, Bukoto
Khana Khazana opened in 1997 as the first Indian restaurant in Kampala. With almost 20 years in the restaurant business, their commitment to evolving for the market has allowed them to stay open so long. That along with their high standards of quality they have earned numerous awards including Best Restaurant by Trip Advisor a whooping six times.
The interior actually feels like being in India (more like opulent India). Every corner is covered in little reminders of India. The waitresses in saris and Punjabis. The waiters, also, in Indian garb. The embroidered fabric covering some walls. The fountain in the background. Everything puts you in the state of mind to consume Indian food.
It’s an upscale establishment that is perfect for you to try North Indian cuisine in a luxurious environment. Khana Khazana insists that flavour does not equal chilli and spicy doesn’t always equal hot. You’ll discover this for yourself when you try their signature offerings.
Acacia Avenue, Kololo
Asian Fusion is one of Fairway Hotel’s current dining options. The hotel, established in 1969, was constructed to host Pope John Paul I. Owned by the Bandali family at the time,it has remained one of Kampala’s most respected hotels 40 years later even after change of management.
At Asian Fusion you are welcome to not only Indian, and Chinese, but even local dishes.
There’s so much to choose from. Careful not to be deceived by the content of some meals. The Tandoori platter, for example, comprises Chicken lollipops, mutton sheesh kebab, Chicken tikka masala, and Paneer Sashlik on a skewer with roasted tomatoes, onions and green pepper. On a three course meal, you might think this is the entire dish and miss out on the flavourful Chicken Lababdar or the Dal Tadka.
Please don’t visit alone, go with friends or family or you might leave exquisite food untouched, the potions are weighty.
At Asian Fusion, you can either dine in the courtyard or the private booths. Either way, they both provide a scenic feel of Asia.
Plot 1 Kafu Road, Nakasero
The Indian Restaurant around the corner at Kisementi is called ‘Saffron.’ It is named after a spice that not only illuminates our favourite Eastern themed food with a glorious yellow color but also adds the distinct spicy-honeyed aroma of authentic Indian cuisine. When we visited, we were flooded with the rich and powerful aroma of all things Indian as soon as we stepped into the dining foyer.
We were served Chicken Makhni, which is basically Spring chicken Tikka cooked in tandoori and simmered in satin smooth tomato gravy, Chicken tandoori, Garlic, Butter and Methi Naan bread, Mutton roganjosh which consists of boneless pieces of mutton cooked in onion and tomato based gravy and Palak Paneer which is cottage cheese cooked in creamy spinach sauce.
The dishes were all uniquely and expertly made. Each copper kadai put on the table was not only rich in flavor but also loaded with most of the colors of the food spectrum. The deep green in the Palak Paneer, the siren red of the tandoori chicken, invigorating to the eyes. There was understandably no need for the cutlery because you can only enjoy Naan Bread when you invite your fingers to the party. With the tongue teasing sensations of the spices, the Sweet and refreshing Lassi drink added a divine spontaneity to the meal.
You must try Saffron, soon.
Plot 5 Sturrock Road (Behind Acacia Mall)
If Great Indian Dhaba were a philosophy, it would be Yin-Yang. India’s Northern and Southern street food come together at this delightful place on Wampewo Avenue.
Typically a roadside stopover for truckers, The Dhaba at Great Indian is set up for families and intimate gatherings with several sitting places. There are manjis, low level sitting platforms unique to Asia; karoga areas that allow you to prepare your meal yourself, a more contemporary eating area and the main area that is separated from the kitchen by glass.
The great thing with Indian cuisine is how the same thing can be prepared and enjoyed different ways. For example, we had five chicken dishes, Shekabab, Tandoori Chicken, Afghani Murg, Chicken Malika and Buttered chicken. In addition to these, we had Mutton rara and Paneer tika. These were served with naan and basmati rice, and three chutneys; meat, coriander and coconut.
The Great Indian Dhaba offers one of the unique experiences because here, you get Indian tastes as they should be. The hot stuff is really hot.
Plot 3 Wampewo Avenue