Over the last decade Newham, East London has seen an emergence in West African restaurants, which is of no surprise due to the large African community there. Kate’s Café and Restaurant, being
one of those restaurants, has been recommended by most of my Ghanaian friends, so I finally got to check it out this month. Shifting away from my usual choice of Nigerian cuisine, I decided to finally check out this spot and see what I thought for myself. I hope you enjoy the review and hope it’s useful!
Price tag: £
Occasion: Casual catch up with friends, family spot
Location: London, Plaistow station (174 Balaam St, London E13 8RD)
For one starter, two main meals and one drink the total came up to £21. I was really impressed with the pricing, it very affordable for such large portions!
Me and my friend started off the meal with Tsofi (deep fried turkey tails) (£5.00), which are chopped up pieces of fried and seasoned turkey. They were accompanied with a red pepper sauce and shito (a spicy sauce consisting of garlic, pepper, dried fish / prawns) . I really enjoyed this as it had the right amount of seasoning so none of the flavours were overpowering – it’s a good example of comfort food. Also, as the tsofi was seasoned well I didn’t feel the need to use the shito.
Now before you read my verdict, understand that Nigerian jollof rice will always be amazing. However, after years of insulting Ghanaian jollof rice, this was really good! The rice, which came with a beef red stew (£7.00), was a great alternative. What I appreciated the most about this dish, was how light of a dish it was. I did not feel heavy after my meal, which was refreshing, as I am used to feeling slumped after eating most rice dishes. Similar to the tsofi, the rice was lightly seasoned and it wasn’t too spicy – the dish was the definition of ‘less is more’.
However, I did suffer from food envy when my friend ordered the waakye (£7.00) (pronounced: waa-chey) – a dish of rice and black eyed beans- accompanied with spaghetti, gari and shito. For me this was the winner, it was aesthetically pleasing due to its rich brown colour. It had a nice smokey flavour and the shito, as per usual was a great addition and gave it the spice I needed. I am used to my Aunty’s waakye and hold that in high regards, but this for me, may have beaten that.
My view is that you should definitely go for the waakye, as I feel you can make jollof rice at home anytime.
I visited on a Sunday afternoon at 3pm, which I must warn you is one of the busier days. When you walk in you’re greeted with very dim lighting, the loud sound of Afrobeats and very subtle décor. The space is impressive, out of all the African restaurants I’ve visited in Newham, it definitely has the largest space, meaning that it is a great location for large parties of families and friends. However, I do advise you to book in advance so you are guaranteed a table.
The overall service, takes a casual dining approach – so you simply find a table that isn’t reserved, walk up to the counter and pay for your meal. Another perk, is the huge plasma screen TV centred in the middle of the restaurant, so for those of you who love football and do not want to cook, this is a good spot for you.
Overall, out of the food and the ambiance – the food was the winner for me. It was simple, filling and very affordable. Due to the ambiance, I feel the restaurant is a good option for a quick catch up with friends, family or a casual date night. My only observation is that I feel it would have been a better dining experience if the music wasn’t so loud and if there was someone to greet you at the door, because for someone new to the restaurant it’s a little hard to figure out if you just grab a table or wait to be seated, but that being said, it was understandably busy.
If you want the key Ghanaian dishes, especially if its your first time trying the food, I would recommend this place – the food is great!