Thu, 02 March 2023
As Bahrain This Month’s resident South African, Farrah Saville snapped up the opportunity to review Kula, a new restaurant in Riffa offering authentic African cuisine.
Since joining the publication, I have waxed lyrical to colleagues and clients about South African cuisine and Africa as a continent. You can imagine my excitement and delight at the chance to review Kula!
With beating drums and welcoming staff, Kula showcases African tradition in going the extra mile. The elegantly decorated interior features rich furnishings, beautiful drapery and chic, vibrant decorations, sourced from Ghana and other parts of the continent. Totally Instagram-worthy!
The staff were warm, friendly and welcoming, taking extra care to carefully explain the drinks and food menu to my colleague Shilu who had never tried African food before. Not only was Kula’s reputation on the line, but so was mine.
As she was appropriately named, Patience explained to Shilu about Kula’s African Volcando: Sprite with elderflower and rose with a surprising twist of popping candy - an absolute delight. I opted for the Rock shandy with a perfect balance of citrus.
The chefs take pride in using only the freshest ingredients to prepare all their signature dishes with delicious herbs and spices. The menu boasts an array of traditional and contemporary specialities, showcasing some of the continent’s favourite dishes. These included South African Pap (a maize dish) & Biltong Bites, Kenyan Kuku Paka - a dish eaten on festive occasions, and Nigerian Jollof - a rice dish flavoured with tomatoes and peppers.
We were treated to an assortment of dishes to tickle our tastebuds. We were treated to an Ethiopian Azifa Lentil Salad- a tangy salad of mixed lentils, cucumber and tomato with sweet peppers and baby spinach leaves, served with a citrus and herb dressing. The salad was creamy and crunchy, offering an array of textures and subtle spices.
Moroccan Dip Platter followed this- a traditional trio of dips including Zaalouk grilled eggplant and spiced tomato dip, creamy labneh topped with fresh pomegranate jewels and homemade dukkah, and Merguez farm-raised lamb spread, served with grilled bread. Combining all three dips was incredibly satisfying as the flavours complimented each other so well.
The Cape Mussels served up next were truly spectacular! The coastal seafood classic simmered in a rich cream garlic sauce and presented with a light, crusty herb baguette. The Cape Mussels lingered on our table for as we scooped up spoonfuls of the sauce with the baguette, “mmmm-ing” at every morsel.
Then came the South African Beef Curry - a delicious fusion of beef mince, carrots and onions, presented on a bed of rice accompanied by banana with chilli flakes and the famous fruity, piquant chutney. The mince was savoury, while the chutney was sweet and tangy.
Tunisian Harissa Spaghetti was the main finale that offered cumin, coriander, fennel, and garlic flavours to create a spicy take on spaghetti pasta, served with a squeeze of tangy lemon.
As dessert was presented just as we thought we couldn’t indulge anymore. The Ghanaian Forbidden Cocoa- a rich, dark mousse created with decadent French Valrhona chocolate topped with a crispy homemade malted chocolate tuile, dusted with icing sugar and cracked open at your table. This sharing dish took me back to childhood and reminded me of licking the chocolate cake batter off the spoon while my mother was baking. So nostalgic!
Aside from a welcoming atmosphere, fantastic cuisine and ambience, the restaurant gives back to the continent through its Muranga drink. All profits of every drink sold will be donated to Africa’s most biodiverse protected area - Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
For more details, follow @kula_bh on Instagram.