Kiza has a variety of meanings in the African culture. In Angolan dialect, it means 'community' – which is exactly the type of atmosphere the restaurant has created. Kiza is located in the heart of Dubai in the DIFC and takes diners on a pan-African journey, encouraging you to experience the culture of the African continent through food, fashion and music. The night kicked off with some great music to get us grooving.
Even before arriving at Kiza, a change in attire took place – yes, that's correct, the evening was meant to commence only after we were dressed in traditional African print outfits designed by the lovely Ntombi Couture. This Dubai-based contemporary fashion brand has collections that are inspired by Africa and its peoples. The pieces consist of vibrant prints, clean lines and classic cuts, making them functional and easy to dress up or down. I am in love with the beautiful colours and designs.
Dinner started with a few welcome drinks, including a refreshingly zingy passion fruit mojito and a peach sunrise that was a serious thirst quencher.
The North African lentil soup was very similar to an Indian dal – the perfect soup to get our taste buds going. They also served a delicately spiced pepper soup with lamb.
I absolutely loved the Kiza mango salad – it was light and had a burst of flavour. I could have eaten the entire bowl by myself and not thought twice about it.
There were quite a few starters, beginning with my favourite of them all – kelewele – spicy fried ripe plantains with peanuts, a popular street food from Ghana. The BBQ wings looked picture perfect, with a secret blend of spices in the BBQ sauce and a dry rub marinade. We also tried the African meat patties, baked minced meat pastries. These were similar to samosas from Indian cuisine or empanadas from Mexico.
We began with the peri-peri prawns, grilled tiger prawns sautéed with Kiza’s special African sauce. Princess Kiza consisted of a whole baked, marinated sea bream with crispy garlic and lemon slices. A mixed grilled platter included chicken suya, grilled lamb chops and chicken and beef nyama choma, served on skewers with a spicy chilli sauce, enhancing the street food feeling. We also sampled Kenyan githeri, a vegetable and bean stew served with bread.
All these mains were served with some mouth-watering side dishes to accompany them – from sukuma wiki, African kale salad (one of the best versions of kale salad I’ve ever eaten), to kachumbari, a simple salad of chopped tomato and onion with lime juice, to jollof rice, a popular West African spiced rice dish.
If you thought our meal had ended, think again – dessert was on the way, and by then I realised
I had already gained enough weight to stretch the outfit I was temporarily wearing. Sweets consisted
of a light and crumbly upside-down pineapple cake served with vanilla ice cream, a very Instagram-worthy chocolate lava cake with vanilla ice cream and a healthy yet yummy fruit salad fit for any age.
A great spot for an evening or afternoon filled with the African culture of eating, drinking, dancing and dressing up.
G/F, Emirates Financial Towers, DIFC, Dubai, +9714 453 9038