Friday,August 17,2018 06:55 AM

The new place to be- Izumi

By Jackie Nalubwama

Added 20th April 2018 03:09 PM

The A-list of diners consisted expatriates mainly, Uganda Tourism boss, Stephen Asiimwe and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sam Kuteesa and his wife Edith .

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The Minister of Foreign Affairs Sam Kuteesa (R) with Sarika Kapur(C) and Mira Masrani(L) during the launch of Izumi Restaurant and Lounge in Kololo. Photos by Abou Kisige

The A-list of diners consisted expatriates mainly, Uganda Tourism boss, Stephen Asiimwe and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sam Kuteesa and his wife Edith .

As guests filtered in at the grand opening of Izumi Restaurant and Lounge in Kololo, they were welcomed by the thunderous beat of Kika drummers whose theatrics preceded the elegance of the occasion.

Sarika Kapur and Mira Masrani, the proprietors, greeted each guest personally as this was an invite-only affair.

Kapur explained that Izumi is a Japanese word for a spring, which is a picture of soothing and fresh open air. She said the restaurant, like a spring, is a fresh open air and soothing place.

The guests were handed over to very attentive waiters to sit them at the lounge and bar area for a drink. And what a bar and lounge! The ambience was nothing short of elegant with tasteful décor of dark coffee tables and light brown chairs, some with golden legs and base.

In tandem with the sitting area, the ceiling was a vision of lights with seemingly simple, but rather intricate look on close inspection.

 Kutesa and his wife Edith at the launch

Some lights are small and appear to be pressed into the ceiling; others are lights that look more like sticks randomly put together just like acrobats performing an act in a circus. The bar has a chandelier with cascading features that are akin to delicate necklaces.

The A-list of diners consisted expatriates mainly, Uganda Tourism boss, Stephen Asiimwe and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sam Kuteesa and his wife Edith .

Kuteesa, the guest of honour, praised Kapur and Masrani for making their dream come true of owning a Pan-Asian restaurant. For Kapur, this is her third restaurant as she has been [and is still] running Khana Khazana, a high-end restaurant in Kololo and Khazana The Verandah in Muyenga.

As guests sipped on their drinks, the next item was an array of appetising small bites by eager waiters, who would coax conversing guests to have a pick. The bites began with simple and tasty cashew nuts dipped in a spicy source, which whetted our appetites.

One look at the menu revealed reasonable prices in such an upscale area. However, when New Vision bumped into Masrani and asked her about the prices, she jokingly replied: “We want everyone to eat.” With sh 35, 000, you can have a meal at the restaurant.

 Kika dancers entertaining guests 

Following cashew nuts, was sautéed spicy chicken on small skewers delicately placed on a bed of cabbage and carrot in a petite clear rectangular plastic container, which many guests enjoyed, judging from the way they happily bit the chicken off the skewer.

Kapur said Izumi will serve a Pan-Asian menu, which includes: Thai, Singaporean, Japanese (sushi and sashimi) and a variety of dimsums and tapas.

Therefore guests were treated to a tray of prawns with a white rice bottom that had a blend of crunch from the prawn and soft texture of the boiled rice.

The Thai spicy spring rolls with vegetables are a hot delight in the mouth, which offer two textures (crunch of the wrap and softness of vegetables); and yasayaki, which is a blend of vegetables from Japan served on a bed of cabbage was very savoury. These tasty bites have the right balance of salt and spice.

Guests that favour burgers and Chinese bao, their wish came to life when waiters served chicken in a small white bun. For lack of a better word, it was a tasty tiny Japanese chicken burger.

We were also treated to hot spicy chips, well done steak, Japanese sushi and sweet cakes, which crowned our evening of tiny tasty adventure.

Alongside good food, Masrani said Izumi has a well-stocked bar that offers a variety of drinks. “We will have the most well-stocked bar and exotic cocktails [No Idea and Beeritto]. Our house special is No Idea and it is the only cocktail in Uganda made of fresh fruit,” said Masrani.

Former ICT minister, John Nasasira( L) chats with other guests at the launch 

Guests speak

UTB’s Asiimwe explained how integral a restaurant such as Izumi is. “A restaurant is an integral part of the tourism industry to the extent that you have good cuisine. What unites us all as East Africa is tourism. When tourists come here, they will spend on food and drink. It serves a variety of and adds value to a tourist’s stay in Kampala,” he said.

Joyce Mcharo, country manager of Kenya Airways, congratulated Kapur and Masrani and wished them success, saying: “It is a wonderful place, the location is nice. The ambiance is nice; the colour combination and airy, fairly open area makes it fresh. For those who want a drink, there is a lounge area and bar. I will be popping in regularly.”


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