They say necessity is the mother of invention, and with Covid-19 having become more or less a permanent feature of our lives, the restaurant sector has had to find innovative and creative ways of surviving in order to make ends meet. In the case of the famous and well established Aangan Indian restaurant, this has meant coming up with another type of cuisine that will co-exist alongside the main menu.
Wisely, Alox Badoni, the owner and founder of the restaurant had the presence of mind to come up with a select menu that is often referred to as junk food and one may well ask why not? Hamburgers, pizzas, wraps and sandwiches have become universal and much loved by diners from all walks of life.
I first made the acquaintance of Alox Badoni way back in the mid 1990’s when he held forte as the general manager of the then legendary Haandi Restaurant. Back then, it was obvious to anyone who observed the gentleman at work, that he was destined for greater things in life. Perhaps having his very own eatery in the class of Haandi.
In 2009,Badoni took that bold step and opened his very own joint in Oasis Mall food court in Kampala and since then, he has never looked back. His ambition was always to own a four-star Indian restaurant and in August 2015, he set up a much scaled up Aangan Restaurant in the wonderful and imposing new Lugogo House and thus realised his long cherished dream.
Here they have an open terrace that is covered and is capable of accommodating large events such as weddings, cocktail parties and the like, for up to 400 people while indoors has a seating capacity of 120.
In the latter setting, one is greeted with subtle lighting and an elegant seating arrangement that mercifully allows enough elbow room and privacy among diners, thus giving us that blissful sense of feeling indulgent and pampered.
Two and half years later, without a doubt, Aangan is a name to be reckoned with when it comes to great Indian food and recently when my sister Katiti and husband Bill visited Kampala, dinner at this place was a top priority.
As a vegetable starter, one can always rely upon the chilly Paneer, a chef’s special that generally leaves one intrigued and wanting to discover more. Not to be outdone on the meat side, the Tandoori paneer tikka is another fine number that greatly benefits from the charcoal grill effect.
Speaking of seafood such as crustaceans, one can only marvel at the Tandoori prawns that are subtly laced with tantalising masala.
While still on the subject of starters, I see that they have introduced the chicken lollipop, something of no great gastronomical renown in my view, nevertheless a favourite of the not so adventurous neophyte who is just starting getting a foothold into Indian food.
For fish lovers, you must check out the whole fish dhaniya masala. This is a boneless wonder that is first fried and then cooked on a tawa and then embellished in a wondrous sauce of mint, cilantro coupled with spices and done to absolute perfection.
Despite the food being mainly Northern Indian, you will find the occasional South West Indian costal delicacy in the form of fish koliwada that is laced with just the right flavour of coconut and spices. The food at this establishment is truly exceptional and each course was a revelation. The service was beyond reproach without being stuffy and contrived. An important lesson that Ugandan restaurateurs need to take from Aangan that truly impressed us, was their ability to go the extra mile in so many ways.
Sending you home with a nice memento of your experience or even providing information cards on any ingredient you may inquire about and gladly entertaining special dietary considerations. Best of all, and rarely seen anywhere, was treating guests to a kitchen tour.
If you go…
Place: Aangan Indian Restaurant
Rating: Not to be missed
Address: Plot 42 Lugogo By pass, Kampala, Uganda
The Space: The perfect rooftop setting for a restaurant comprising over 1,000 sq. metres.
The Crowd: Cosmopolitan and many Ugandans
The Bar: Juice, lassi, beer and soda, wine and spirits
Recommended dishes: Tandoori chicken wings, tandoori goat ribs, fish fingers, chicken tikka, chilly lollipop chicken, reshmi mushrooms, and samosas to die for!
The damage: A meal for two with a couple of drinks is at least Shs 100, 000
Sound level: Very good
Parking: Very convenient located in the basement and very secure and abundant
Daily Specials: Ask the head waiter
Smoke free zone: Allowed on the veranda
Service: Convivial, friendly and engaging
What we liked: The food is really well prepared and nicely spiced. Whoever is in the kitchen is very accomplished.