Eat this: Kitgum Kitchen, Brighton’s first East African-Indian restaurant

Popular pop-up to make restaurant debut with Swahili coastal cuisine.

22 January 2020
africanindianrestaurant openingrestaurants
  • The Gist: New East African-Indian restaurant offering a mixture of small and large plates
  • The Chef: Fayaz Amlani (founder)
  • Location: Preston Road, Brighton BN1 4QE
  • Food in 5 words: East African and Gujarati fusion
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How did we get here?

Kitgum Kitchen founder Fayaz Amlani, and his partner Susie Bates, have made their trade for the last four years offering East African-Indian cuisine to the Brighton street food public, and they are now ready to expand the concept with their first ever restaurant.

The couple – who recently kickstarted a Crowdfunder campaign to aid the opening – will focus on Swahili coastal cuisine, with small plates (sahani ndogo), big plates (sahani kubwa) and a range of sides/sauces on the menu. Amlani says the food was inspired by the fusion cookery of his family, which his parents brought with them after they were expelled from Uganda by Idi Amin in 1972, and believes is relatively unknown in the UK.

“Among the exiles were my parents, and although they only took a single suitcase they brought a wealth of recipes from their unique heritage, a fusion of East African and Gujarati cuisine,” Amlani states at the top of the new Kitgum Kitchen menu. “I was raised with these recipes and today I would like to share them with you.”

What’s different about it?

According to Amlani, it will be the first ever restaurant in Brighton to offer a fusion of East African and West Coast Indian cuisine. And the founder is attempting to bring what made Kitgum’s street food experience such a success into a restaurant setting, complete with a fun atmosphere of food, music and drinks. 

On the menu are a variety of familiar dishes with a twist. Slow-roasted stuffed peppers, for example, are available as a main and are stewed with mung (moong) beans, which are predominantly cultivated in Asia and packed with protein. In addition, there are two different types of samosas from the lighter section of the menu, with a range of sides including Ugandan chapati and rice and lentil dish khichidi.

Lunch specials – known as Kitgum Rolexes – are also available, including a fresh chapati wrapped around a thin omelette with spiced potato, pickled carrots and tamarind sauce. Vegan options can be ordered too.

You’ve got to try…

Tanaznian Mishkaki, tender skewers (sirloin beef steak/chicken/halloumi) originating from East Africa’s coastal towns.

Sparkie also likes…

Zanzibar Falafal (dar Nu Bhajia), the African island’s take on the traditional Middle Eastern falafel.

Go if…

You want to enjoy fresh fusion cooking in a buzzing street-food-like setting.

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