Nowadays the most exciting thing is to test a new takeout menu. So you have to make it a special occasion, otherwise the excitement factor wears thin. Last weekend we gave Dampha kitchen a try. The name of the kitchen derives from Khalifa Dampha, who has Gambian roots but grew up in Spain. This very interesting mix reflects itself in the African fusion cuisine of his pop-up establishment.
Khalifa currently cooks in the 8th district, using the kitchen of a Mexican restaurant only on the weekend. All orders go through his Instagram page, and you can either pick it up yourself or get a delivery. Since I am big on trying new food, we got two different kinds of Empanadas. One veggie and one with minced beef. The veggie one was a bit boring, a lot of dough and not enough vegetables. The beef version was way better, lots of minced meat and nicely seasoned. We did enjoy the dipping sauce which came with it. Overall a lovely starter. Also it heats up easily in the oven.
(Sorry for the poor quality of the pictures and the uninspired food styling. We were hungry and decided to eat right away out of the packaging.)
As a main course we got three different dishes. All of them come with rice, which was rather boring come to think of it. They do taste differently though, especially the Benachian Gambian Jollof Rice (which is the brown rice dish on the left). All dishes are richly seasoned, maybe leaning on the salty side.
We also got two vegan dishes, Soso – a chickpea stew, and Supa Kanja – an okra spinach dish. We loved the chickpea stew, so delicious and flavorful. The okra spinach dish was good as well. Maybe just a little bit less interesting than the other ones. The rice turned out to be fine, it really worked well with all three dishes.
Each main dish comes with a dessert, a vegan rice pudding with cinnamon. This sounds nice enough, because who doesn’t like free dessert? But, and here comes a big but, it was really, really joyless. The rice has been cooked forever and is a mushy sauce with still hard bits in between. Overall the pudding has a texture as if it has been cooked for people with dentures.
For the most part Dampha Kitchen delivered though. The three main dishes tasted great and were definitely exciting to try. In my mind I could see myself traveling to Gambia, this small West African country, and check out the dishes for real. Until then I will see what else Dampha Kitchen has on the menu. Yours, Pollybert
Dampha Kitchen – pop-up
1080 Wien, Florianigasse 1
Email: through Instagram