Eating at the Taj Mahal…

Restaurant & Bar in Bujumbura, Burundi

Last night I had dinner at the Taj Mahal Restaurant and Bar located a nice 2 minute walk from the Village Hotel in Bujumbura, Burundi.  When you first walk in off the street you will see the Taj Mahal art gallery straight ahead which features a small collection of paintings (they look somewhat local), baskets, a few wood carvings, and some jewelry that looks like it came straight from China.  All in all the art gallery was a disappointing and I did not see anything I would want.

Come out of the gallery and turn to your right (left if you have just come from the street) and you will walk into the restaurant featuring both indoor and outdoor seating  I opted for outdoor since the weather was rather nice.  The first thing I noticed was the place was very quiet with only 3 other tables occupied (one of which I think was the owner), but I figured maybe it was too early for dinner at only 7PM.

I selected a table, sat down and was handed a menu which thankfully was in English (a rare thing to find in a French-speaking country).  As I thumbed through the menu I came across a wide variety of food featuring everything from Indian (the majority of the menu) to Chinese to French and European.  I decided on Indian and thumbed through the list of 50+ dishes settling on chicken dhupia za, a chicken dish with grilled onion according to the menu with a side of garlic nan.

I waited about 15 – 20 minutes for my food sipping on my Tusker beer and reading my book.

When the food came it was more like chicken in onion gravy than with grilled onion so I was not sure if it was what I ordered or not but it smelled good and looked good so I decided what the heck.  Skewered a piece of chicken and a piece of onion on my fork, dragged it through the gravy and took my first bite.

The chicken was moist and juicy, the gravy tasted of onion and Indian spices, the onion tasted like, well an onion.  All together this was a very flavorful first bite though I could have used a little more spice in it.

Next was the garlic nan, so I ripped off a piece of the still warm nan dripping with butter and took my first bite.  The nan did not disappoint, lots of butter and garlic dripping of this warm Indian flat bread filled my mouth with the wonderful garlic flavor as my nose took in the aromatic garlic smell.  I dragged the next piece of nan through the gravy from the chicken and the flavors melded together perfectly.

Overall the food was good but it was not great or fantastic.  The first taste was the best but after that it was just Indian food as the impression did not stay through the rest of the meal.  There is another Indian restaurant in town which is much better and will be the topic of my next post in a few days.

-erik

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