Never have my DM’s been on fire as much as when I visited Bandaa, a brand new restaurant in Hatch End serving all the popular, nostalgic and classic Kenyan dishes. It has a menu concept that is quite unique and has not been done to this scale in London before. I couldn’t wait to give it a whirl, especially as I haven’t been home in so long, and so booked to go two days after it officially opened.
My first impressions of the restaurant itself were that it is absolutely gorgeous! It’s lovely and spacious with a stunning bar as you enter to the left. The decor has got lots of Kenyan influences but is also trendy and contemporary with flower walls and lovely earthy colours. It has a central London vibe and a great looking place to come for cocktails and food with your friends or family.
The menu is really extensive and it was so hard to choose what to try. In hindsight I wish we had come in a group so that we could have tried more dishes but we will definitely be back to try the rest. This review is based on what we tried and so is subject to change when I visit again as I would like to try more dishes to give it a more balanced review.
Please note we also visited when it was super new and so I’d like to visit again once it’s been running a few weeks for a fairer review.
To kick off with though, I ordered a Dawa cocktail and Amit ordered a Tusker beer. Their Dawa was made with Grey Goose Vodka, African honey, brown sugar and zesty lime juice.
The Dawa was delicious and really reminded me of home and was easy to drink! We enjoyed our cocktails whilst nibbling on Chilli Korosho with Peanuts, which was kindly compliments of the chef.
When I saw Mombasa Mix on the menu I knew it had to definitely be ordered and it did not disappoint. It was so full of flavour and had a nice fiery kick balanced with the creamy and cooling coconut chutney. It was a decent sized portion as a starter. They also had Kachri bateta available which I want to try next time.
Amit tried the Mbuzi Mshkaki (char-grilled lamb with onion and peppers) and was pleasantly surprised with how succulent the meat was! The portion could have been a little bit bigger though.
Mains was the toughest decision to make as we literally wanted everything! We settled on an Egg Chapati served with salad and a trio of sauces.
It was really tasty and definitely something that will be re-ordered on our next visit! They had other fillings available like paneer.
We also shared the Chooza Chicken, which was a really good portion and the meat was well marinated and full of flavour. This was served with a portion of chips.
I also could not resist ordering the Gatundus Kachumbari chips, which if you know, you know! Needless to say they were divine and the Kachumbari sauce was delicious.
It’s always a sign of a good evening if I have more cocktails and so I also tried their signature one, Hakuna Matata, which was a delectable blend of Plantation Spiced Rum, coconut rum, cherry brandy, banana liquer and pineapple juice. It took me mentally straight to the coast of Kenya!
As it was days within opening, the service was still finding its feet and so there were a few delays with dishes on our table and neighbouring tables and teething problems but once they have been running for a few weeks I am sure it will be much slicker.
Bandaa also make their own brand of sauces and you can try them when you are at the restaurant and if you love them you can even purchase a bottle or two to take home with you!
I would definitely recommend visiting to try it if you are Kenyan and want a taste of home. If you aren’t Kenyan, it’s a nice way to experience Kenyan flavours and the unique variety on the menu so add it to your list of restaurants to dine at! It is something different and the food (what we tried) was great.
It was mid-high range when it came to pricing. As it was the last day of Eat Out To Help Out we got £20 off.
I will update this post with more dishes that I try from my next visit so that I have a more balanced view. If you go let me know what you try and what your thoughts were!
Address : Bandaa, 461 Uxbridge Rd, Pinner, HA5 4JS (lots of parking on the parade)
Opening hours: 12:30pm-11pm except Mondays till 10:30pm & Weekends till 12am