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West African meet East African flavours at Cozy Hybrid

GOOD FOOD: The restaurant specialises in food from West African countries such as Nigeria and Ghana, writes Douglas D. Sebamala

There have been lots of relations brewing between Uganda and West Africa in the recent past. It may not be entirely because of the oil exploration in Hoima or Uganda’s insatiable love for Nigerian music, but Cozy Hybrid has tapped into the influx to bring mouth-watering West African cuisine to Kampala.
Adjacent to Oryx Petrol Station, minutes off Northern By pass’ Naalya round about, Cozy Hybrid dots as the only restaurant offering West African food in the area. The petite gardens are welcoming with tables garlanded in Ghanaian fabric; floral and artistic tie and dye (Kitenge), in shades of green, yellow and blue also tower above the interior of the restaurant in an umbrella like form draping all the way to the bar.
As though to remind you of the need to look good with a good meal, a large mirror with a colourful frame graces the wall opposite the entrance. The reflection got me thinking of the fairy tale phrase “Mirror Mirror on the wall.” The atmosphere is as cosy (calm and tranquil) as the brand itself. With up to five tables in the restaurant, the inner rooms offer two lounging areas that can meet a small private party or the relaxing tranquil of a quiet evening.  Cozy Hybrid keeps it African with wicker and bamboo chairs in the lounge.
“We decided that since most Ugandans are collaborating with Nigerians, offering West African food would make them feel at home. They would love to get their food. It’s like how a Ugandan goes to the UK and finds matooke in restaurants in London!” Micheal Ssimbwa, the manager, speaks of their motive. However, they have a range of East African food too to compliment the region, so either way one is at home with the cuisine.
The Ala carte menu (all freshly done meals –with order) offers a selection of foods prepared in the range of 10 to 15minutes. Semolina, cornflour with butter, the equivalent of soft mashed potatoes savors very well with Egusi sauce. Egusi is grounded pumpkin seeds mixed with spinach. One that is common with the Ugandan folk is Fufu, which is often heard in the movies. Fufu is freshly boiled cassava and plantain pounded locally in a motor and pestle to create a delicious teaser to your taste buds. Kelewele (Plantain/Gonja) is sliced, dipped in cowboy and termed with Ghanaian spice.
The current chef, Paul Nakayima has about 10 years’ experience in continental and West African dishes. “I recommend Jollof Rice and Charcoal Grilled Fish,” it is quite the delicacy, he says. As he describes the preparation process, my mouth waters with delight. They usually boil the chicken or fish and spice it, drain the water, gel it with homemade tomato sauce, it is soaked then grilled before it is served with long grained rice. Charcoal grilled fish and chicken are done with Ghanaian bravura.
The prices range from Shs10,000 up to Shs20,000 for Amala (made of cassava flour- similar to kalo) . Other delicacies include pounded yam, Banku (fermented cassava, served best with fish and fresh chilli), Okra, Apem (green boiled plantaine). Gari /Eba as most meals is made of cassava flour. Simbwa says the proprietor, tasted West African cuisine and she like it, before starting the restaurant four months back with a Ghanaian chef. The grand inaugural event on November 29, 2014 introduced Ugandans to an array of gastronomy whose spices are imported from West Africa.
Speaking of benefits over Ugandan food, he adds that “The food is heavy, lasts longer in the stomach, is rich with body building carbohydrates and serves the purpose of better sexual ability in men.”
The service team attends to cocktail, graduation and birthday parties, outside catering and offer delivery to your home. Their rationale is to “Bring Food to the Client”. Besides catering to the culinary delights, the joint
Given the chef’s abilities too, Cozy Hybrid shall offer you a West African experience that shall have you incorporate your diet even without a ticket out of Uganda.

It’s not just a food affair however; there is an assortment of beverages that include whiskeys, gins, beers, wine and juices, ranging between Shs5,000 to Shs50,000. Nigerian beer, Star Larger, is available at Shs7,000 and Simbwa hopes they shall gradually import more West African beverages like Madingo Bitters, Aroma Maltino and Palm Wine. The joint will also soon start its themed weekly specials comprising a movie night, oldies goldies Saturday specials, Rock music night and a monthly cocktail night.

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