Strolling into Bazaar by Khazanah, the newest and most-buzzed about restaurant in Nairobi feels like stepping into an Indian street somewhere in Delhi, full of shops with funky Indian posters and plenty of trinkets to amuse you. Situated towards the back of Asian Gardens at the Warwick Centre in Gigiri, Bazaar by Khazanah is the newest addition to the Khana Khazanah group of restaurants. The space is small, fitting about four large tables. The ambiance is a mix of vintage posters and Indian knick-knacks with the Indian tuk-tuk featuring as a colorful motif. The wall mural of a decorated Indian truck makes for a great Instagram pic and the little touches such as the tiffin boxes on a cute bike and a miniature sewing machine are enthralling, drawing you in. The Indian bar cart at the end of the restaurant is pure Instagram-gold, and I can imagine one sipping on a falooda or chowing down on freshly-made paan here. As Mom, Dad and I waited for my aunt and uncle to join us for lunch on one Sunday, we ordered Papad and our drinks. There’s a selection of lassis, Indian-inspired cocktails and mocktails, and Indian sodas such as Thums Up and Limca (when available).Mom and Dad opted to get Nimbu Soda – a classic Indian take on the classic lemonade with lemon juice, mixed spices, sugar topped with soda. I’d decided to try Toofan, a cocktail with Indian spices, vodka, coriander and guava juice. It was delicious but I really wished that they had the Lal Pari, their take on the Bloody Mary, which I had been looking forward to trying. The drink glasses were very cute and colorful. In fact, the table décor was eclectic. The paper serviettes were in a red horn and the cutlery was in a modified metal bicycle. A trio of chutneys was served in a yellow wooden box.The Bazaar by Khazanah menu serves up authentic North Indian cuisine. There are salads, a range of Bazaar Bites (snacky dishes only available between 3-7PM), a selection of tandoori dishes, curries, daals (highly recommended), biryanis, rice, and a myriad of naans (desi-style and fusion-style e.g. a wasabi butter naan). The tandoori and curries and daals, all came with a choice of naan or rice. They also offer yogurt, raita and papad on the side. They don’t have a dessert menu yet, but there is a Dessert of the Day.
Once my aunt and uncle joined us, the papad arrived. We had ordered Plain Papad and Masala Papad. Both the papads were fried in a cone shape and served in a metal tuktuk sculpture. The masala papad was actually a deconstructed papad with the masala mixture served in a separate tin, for us to scoop into the papad.Then, the Bazaar Bites arrived next. Usually, these are only available between 3-7PM, but for the sake of this review, I had pre-ordered these beforehand. First, we tried the Gol Gappa (pani puris). The puris arrived stuffed with a mix of cooked potato and lentils topped on shot glasses of spiced water. And how cute is that wooden doll? After pouring the water into the puri, you pop one into your mouth, trying to eat it in one go. These were scrumptious and went down a treat.
Next, we tried the Gunpowder Chaat – a tangy mix of potato, sweet potato and taro root (seasonal) tossed with spices, lime and coriander. It was lovely and heavily tasted of tamarind, but the dish was not something exceptional.Then, we tried the Chandni Chowk Ki Tikki, potato and green pea patties, topped with radish, tamarind sauce and seasoned yogurt. Served on a warm tawa (Indian pan), these were absolutely scrummy and simply moreish with a crispy exterior and a soft, fluffy interior. They were definitely my favorite!Last but not least, we tried the Palak Patta Chaat, crispy spinach leaves deep-fried in gram flour, then drizzled with tamarind sauce, seasoned yogurt and tangy chaat masala, topped with coriander and sev (fried Indian vermicelli noodles). Crunchy but super light (it was only deep-fried spinach), these were full of flavor. I especially loved that this was served with a miniature tiffin box with all the accompanying chutneys.We decided to skip the tandoor options, but I’d recommend the Aaloo Ahmed Shahi from a prior visit to the restaurant. The potatoes stuffed with spiced mashed potatoes, ground cashews, green chilli, coriander and spices were delectable.
For our mains, we ordered the Bang Bang Paneer, a chilli-paneer inspired dish with paneer tossed with garlic, onion and bell peppers in a flavorful spiced sauce. The dish arrived with the paneer in a tiny saucepan and the accompanying carrot and cucumber sticks in a miniature pressure cooker, all on a wooden tray. It was incredibly delicious, especially with Garlic Naan.How cute is that mini pressure cooker?We also ordered the Dum Aaloo Kashmiri, which was a creamy curry with potato stuffed with paneer and spices in a rich tomato gravy. With a crispy and buttery Methi Naan, this was divine. This, too, was served similarly like the paneer with the curry in a tiny pot on a wooden tray.The portions for the mains looked small, but after gorging on the Bazaar Bites, these portions were more than enough for us.
Stuffed, we finished off the meal with Railway Station Chai. Served cutting chai-style in a metal teapot from which the sweet, spiced tea is poured into tiny glasses, this was the perfect end to the meal. The iconic Parle G biscuits were just the right accompaniment to the chai.The bill arrived in a red letterbox with a little locker to place the cash inside. And we enjoyed a post-meal palate cleanser with the traditional Indian Mukhwas (a colorful mouth freshener made of various seeds and nuts, including fennel seeds, anise seeds and sesame seeds) and Jeera Goli (a sweet, tangy cumin ball-shaped candy), which are said to aid in digestion.Our dining experience at Bazaar by Khazanah was beyond exceptional. Really, the restaurant has it all: incredible food presented in unique styles, an amazing ambiance and great service.
Make sure you give this incredible restaurant a try. It’s open from Tuesday through to Sunday from 11:30AM to 10:30PM.If anyone is wondering, we left the restaurant falling into massive food comas, ready for a Netflix Christmas movie marathon. (How is it already that time of the year?)
Disclaimer: My photographer and I dined complimentary, courtesy of Bazaar by Khazanah.
Photos by Hitesh Shah