A couple sharing a moment at the restaurant. Photo by Ismail Kezaala

Last Saturday afternoon, I had the pleasure of being invited to a late luncheon by the owner of quite possibly Ntinda’s only Indian restaurant. The owner, Sohail Ashraf is a Pakistani gentleman who used to work with Macdonald’s in Ireland for several years and came to Uganda sometime mid last year with a view to opening a take away in town.

Finding the right location in the city centre proved to be a daunting task in terms of the exorbitant rents and the overall scarcity of suitable premises. In the end, the decision was made to settle in Ntinda, and six months down the road, business is proving to be challenging and promising.

Also invited, besides my family, was a good family friend who in fact was instrumental in arranging for a meeting with the owner of this relatively new joint. My first impression of Sohail is that of a genial, affable and hard working person who is determined to introduce Indian food to the Ntinda suburbs.

The location that he has chosen for his joint is a few yards off the beaten Ntinda drag and very easy to find. At the same time, it has a large garden that offers tremendous alfresco dining prospects. In the front of the main property, there is a huge cavernous thatched veranda that is relatively cool and comfortable where we sat and spent a wonderful afternoon.

Interestingly while the food consists of a wide variety of items from the Indian continent, there is also a potpourri of Chinese favourites such as hot and sour chicken or vegetable soup, spring rolls and fried rice etc. Not to be overlooked are the Ugandan patrons. Sohail is mindful of the need to cast as a wide catchment as possible and take in the locals who are besotted with chicken and chips, fish and chips and the like.

For starters, we really went overboard and ordered chili paneer, an Indo Chinese version of cottage cheese that came across spectacularly well. This was complimented with chicken wings and best of all was the Afghani chicken that come either whole or half. I believe that it would be fair to say that Afghani chicken and tandoori are related with the former being done in a tandoori oven as opposed to a charcoal grill. The marinating of yogurt and spicing and then char grilling gives it an unforgettable taste with the flavour being nicely imparted and best of all we were bowled over by the sheer succulence of the chicken.

With such a large offering of starters, we still found room for naan (butter and cheese), jeera rice and mutton kadai and fish curry. Having tasted a variety of offerings to be found at the Taj, we all agreed that the food is certainly way above average. Painstakingly prepared with attention to detail and overall care, the results manifestly speak for themselves.

The food here is not your ordinary run of the mill type commonly found in the not so upscale Indian joints. At the same time, the prices are affordable and best of all the service is very good.

AT A GLANCE 
RATINGS: Not to be missed, worth a visit, OK/so so, don’t waste your time.
Our Rating: Worth a visit

The Space: Tastefully decorated indoors with a cool alfresco setting.

The Crowd: Suburbanites from Ntinda and Naguru and Asians who know a thing or two about good food.

The type of food: Authentic Indian cuisine along with Indo Chinese and local such as chips and chicken.

The cheque: It really would depend on how frugal you choose to be; Shs20,000 and up would be a fair estimation.

Parking: Secure and abundant.What we liked: The prices are keen and the portions are generous and above all, the food is tasty and well prepared.

If you go: They are open seven days a week for lunch till late.

By Kadumukasa Kironde II, Daily Monitor

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