The New York Kitchen (NYK) in Garden City is not what you expect – unless, of course, what you expect is an authentic American diner in a parking garage in Kampala.
Tucked in the far corner of the first floor parking level is the distinctive red and white awning, red and white plastic chairs, and the invitation to ‘grab a slice’. The main restaurant is the size of two small shops with one being the indoor seating area filled with black and red striped diner booths and more plastic tables and the other serving as the kitchen. Murals of New York City cover the walls and windows and there are even the obligatory snapshots of customers in black and white frames covering the entryway. Look up and you’ll even find the ceiling decorated amusingly with paper patterned with a fat lady lounging merrily in a cupcake.
NYK excels in what you would want a diner to excel in: burgers, breakfast, pizzas, and rich, comfort desserts. The burgers are the genuine article. Too big burgers are served sloppy with all the trimmings and a side of greasy, more-ish, french fries. The ‘greasy spoon’ breakfast – three eggs, bacon, hash brown, and bagel – is better than can be found some places in New York. The pizza is also indisputably the real deal with thin crust and perfect ratios of sauce, cheese and toppings. The milkshakes are indeed ‘thick and creamy’ and heaped to the brim with real ice cream.
Venturing off the diner staples can vary. The bagel with lox, cream cheese, onions, and capers, for example, is a personal favourite. While it has been served with perfectly fresh salmon on a recent visit the salmon was poorly defrosted and pre-mixed with cream cheese. The yogurt smoothie and iced coffee frappacino: delicious. The tuna melt: reasonable. The bagels were soft and fresh and while the cinnabons (cinnamon rolls) look pale I was assured by my dining companion that they were delicious.
Desserts are also a highlight with NYK ‘Famous Double Chocolate Layer Cake’, Red Velvet Cake, Cheesecake, Chocolate Soufflés, Brownies with Ice Cream, and Hot Fudge Sundays on the menu. Most cakes can be bought as a whole or by the slice. However, the cupcakes are featured and adorn the windows so should be tried. The cupcake itself was decent but it was the butter cream frosting that could win awards. For something out of the ordinary, try their novelty ‘pizza cake’. Looks like a pizza but is actually a cake complete with white chocolate as the cheese and candy ‘vegetables’.
Service is fast and friendly and prices are moderate with breakfast ranging from 9,500-15,500 UGS, burgers between 16,500-19,500 UGS, and pizza by the slice between 5,000-6,000 and a whole pizza between 34,500-39,000.
NYK is open every day from 8am-10pm. Find them on Facebook at: www.facebook.com/NYKKampala. There is currently a special on Mondays and Tuesdays from 6-10pm where customers buying a whole pizza can get a second at half price. Delivery is available: 0793200775.