Afghan Soul Food at Kishmish

Kishmish is Dubai’s first gourmet Afghan street and soul food restaurant that recently opened in February this year. Conceptualized and developed by three Afghan women – Iman Nazemi, Fatima Rabbani, and Homaira Nasser-Zia, they recognized the lack of authentic Afghan food and a venue that celebrates and highlights the rich heritage of Afghanistan.

The interior is set up industrial chic with Afghan elements– artwork by an Afghan artist, a huge Rumi quote on the wall and Afghan music; add to this, an open kitchen lending an air of coziness. Lots of the dishes are street food meets gourmet as Iman explained the recipes were carefully curated to represent the different regions of Afghanistan along with some favorite family recipes.

Our foray into Afghan food started with Bolani, a platter of flatbread stuffed with leeks and potatoes, served with three distinctive chutneys for dipping. We also tried their signature fried okra simmered with onions, coriander, tomatoes, and chili. It was really flavorful without being oily or overly spiced. Also, the eggplant barta, cooked and mashed eggplant with coriander, spring onions, garlic, onions, and yogurt; made into a thick, almost chunky consistency. With these, we were served authentic Afghan naan freshly baked from the oven.

From the mains, we ordered the Manto– lamb stuffed dumplings topped with lentils, vegetables, and yogurt. The entire dish was creamy and comforting. And the Afghan Emerald palao, topped with sautéed carrots and filled with dry fruits, was rich without being heavy. The mixed grill platter held juicy kofta skewers and yogurt marinated chicken skewers also served with three kinds of chutneys for dipping.

Desserts are mostly infused with delicate flavors of cardamom, nuts, and rose water. We tried the crunchy Afghan churros, flavored delicately with rose and saffron and topped with sweet cardamom. Next, the Afghan halwa; made with buttery flour and infused with cardamom topped with almonds. And lastly, Afghan almond ice-cream topped with cardamom.

The Verdict: It’s not often you find the founders of an eatery actively playing a role and these three ladies have ticked all the right boxes when it comes to serving authentic and delicious Afghan food in a wholesome, yet gourmet environment. Don’t miss this one.

Visit: Kishmish, Dar Wasl Mall, Al Wasl Road, Dubai