Our first stop on our culturally unique and interesting food tour was Jambo Grill, a highly recommended East-African Indian restaurant. Family-owned and visited by Prime Ministers, we were excited to try some foodie recommendations as well as some dishes we found intriguing.
Have you ever had East-African Indian food? What is it even like? It’s Indian food cooked in East African style – highly aromatic, flavorful and with ingredients more common in East African cooking such as cassava and plantain.
The recommended (from our contributors): Pili Pili Moga Fries, Samosas, Chai
Our recommendations: Patra, Pili Pili Moga Fries, Samosas, Chai, Rasmalai, Kulfi (can’t forget multiple desserts)
The atmosphere was unique and and well themed, showing the clear influence for both halves of the African and Indian fusion. The two main opposite walls had artwork to represent each place and the whole restaurant theme was comforting. Additionally the cool giraffe masks and statues added a nice touch.
Bottomless garam masala chai brewed in small batches. Not too spicy but very flavorful – I could definitely drink this all day. It comes unsweetened which is great and you can add just the right amount of sweetener to it. This has probably been my favorite cup of chai at a restaurant (I prefer spicier but haven’t had spicier chai unsweetened).
A savoury steamed leaf roll made from arbi, a colocasia leaf. Spicy, tangy & slightly sweet.
This was the dish I was most intrigued by – having never heard of a colocasia leaf or this dish. It’s vegetarian and is topped off with shredded coconut. It had a soft texture, creamy with a coconut and rich green leafy vegetable taste. We both devoured these and would definitely order them again – they’re not too heavy. They were delicious and unique.
Pili Pili Masala Mogo
Cassava sauteed in our Pili Pili Sauce. Served with ambli, a sweet tamarind to sooth the spice.
This was one of the recommended dishes – and we were both a bit concerned of the spice level. I’ve had a lot of cassava chips but haven’t had cassava fries before. The texture is firmer than that of potato fries and these were a good level of crispy. They kept their firmness and consistency through the duration of the meal and were just as good at the end as when they arrived. The pili pili sauce, while it had some heat, wasn’t overpowering and slowly warmed you up over the course of several bites. Would we order this again? Hands-down yes. Would we go out of the way to get an order? Yeah. Yum.
Hand crafted, hand stuffed & made with love. (These were the Vegetable Samosas)
Like most people, we’ve had our fair share of samosas in this city. While the ones we’ve had typically have potato-based soft fillings and more doughy, flaky shells – these were considerably different. The shells are quite light and crispy (almost like wonton) which I really liked and the insides were not as heavy with a good mix of vegetables that reminded me of asian style gyozas. They had a good amount of spice and I liked the non-potato fillings.
Motoke & Peanuts from Uganda
Plantain bananas steamed in its skin till tender with a helping of peanut sauce. Recommended as a side dish to an entree or on its own.
If you like the flavour of peanuts, this is worth getting. Most of the peanut sauces I’ve had over the years have been Thai influenced so I think my tastebuds were expecting something along those lines, and this was nothing like that. This tasted like peanuts and it had a good quantity of full peanuts in the sauce (shelled of course). This was a great flavour addition to the meal.
I still wasn’t sure if I should be eating this as a dish on its own or use it as a side to eat with everything else, but after getting it, I’m recommend it as a side. I don’t want to overshadow the plantains (as they were delicious and probably the best-prepared I’ve ever had), but I feel like the sheer quantity of peanut sauce lends itself to using with other items in the meal. We definitely dipped a few samosas in it throughout the meal.
A classic dish with chicken tenders, potatoes & a hard boiled egg cooked in a thick coconut curry.
The chicken was really juicy and tender and the coconut curry was very rich in flavour. It was definitely the type of dish I’d have with rice next time but we wanted to try some naan with it. The dish comes with a hardboiled egg in the curry which is nice both for a texture break and a lighter taste that mixes well with the coconut flavour.
A little bit of each Vegetarian dish
This restaurant was a great option for vegetarians and meat eaters alike. We ordered several dishes, all with unique flavours, and were quite pleased with the results. Everything we ordered (except the Kuku Paka) was veg-friendly. I wanted to try and get a photo that had a bit of everything vegetarian that we ordered since Jambo Grill had these really neat plates.
An Indian textured ice cream with cardamon & saffron topped with pistachio nuts.
This dessert was so good. The cardamom combined with pistachio and saffron and sweet delicious textured ice cream was to die for. I wanted another one but figured choosing a second dessert was probably a better idea – try them all first then have seconds. I’m coming back for this, it paired really well with the chai.
Ricotta cheese dumplings infused with sweet thickened milk & topped with pistachio.
These were also super flavorful – that rosewater essence and pistachio is divine. I’ve had rasmalai before but the texture of this one was so soft and fresh… Did I mention I’d definitely have this again? Ok I’m getting hungry again.
The server was really nice and informative, letting us know how long dishes would take, checking on ingredients in dishes (one of us has an allergy), and providing a high level of service.
Well there you have it, this was definitely a taste adventure we’d return to – from the cool decor to the unique Patra appetizer and delicious moga fries to the amazing chai and desserts – there was lots for everyone.