Urban Masai:Nyama Choma
A Taste of Afro Fusion

Perched on the edge of the bustling Great East Road, Urban Masai: Nyama Choma is a sanctuary in the heart of the capital city of Lusaka that transports patrons to a slice of East African culinary heaven. The restaurant is a fusion of East African and Zambian cuisine with a menu that celebrates the similarities in African food while denoting a distinction in flavours and techniques from its Zambian counterparts. Urban Masai was birthed out of a strong appreciation for the unique flavours of both East African and Zambian cuisine. The restaurant reflects the new generation of young Africans living in urban areas while representing and holding on to their cultural roots and identities. Nyama choma is the Swahili phrase for ‘roasted meat’, reflecting the restaurants Kenyan and Tanzanian roots

Urban Masai’s spacious semi-outdoor venue is a tasteful blend of East African and Afro-chic themes. The different areas of the restaurant are aptly named after iconic landmarks in East Africa, from Zanzibar to the Masai Mara lounge; each area has its distinct features. Seats covered in Masai shuka, the woollen, vibrant, colourful cloth worn by the Masai, are accentuated by the warm hues of brown leather and white accents reminiscent of Zanzibar’s beaches. The eclectic mix of textures and bold African patterns punctuates each area, from a relaxed beer garden area to a fine-dining setup; Urban Masai caters to its diverse patronage, ensuring that every personality is catered for.

“At Urban Masai, we have a deliberate focus on service excellence throughout your experience with us, from how we welcome our guests to our waiting service and restaurant ambience, you will always have a warm memorable experience with us” stated Mimi Daka, Managing Director and Partner at Urban Masai.

The main signature dish at Urban Masai is the nyama choma or michopo, Zambia’s version. This popular street food is slowly barbecued to perfection over an open coal pit in an outdoor kitchen designed to showcase how Urban Masai perfects its roasted goat, chicken, and beef dishes. Unlike michopo, Urban Masai’s nyama choma is never boiled and is slowly grilled for at least two hours until the tender meat falls off the bone perfectly and melts in your mouth. The smoke and char of the grill cling to the meat as it is served, fresh and hot off the coals with kachumbari—a delightful East African salsa comprising tomato and sweet red onions finely diced with a touch of spice. The goat is served with choma-style plantain, and the only establishment in Lusaka currently serves it this way. The menu also boasts the wildly popular fried plantain and matoke or green plantain.

There are many crossovers between Zambian and East African cuisine; however, what makes Urban Masai’s menu stand out is its strict adherence to East African cooking techniques that call for longer cooking times and careful preparation to create the signature tenderness and taste characteristic of their dishes. Village or free-range chicken is a staple in Zambian cuisine, but the restaurant’s East African take on the dish differs from your grandmother’s recipe! Makange uses the wet-fry technique, which involves sautéing the chicken with spices, tomatoes, colourful peppers and other flavour-enhancing elements to create a memorable and, most importantly, moist dish. The result is served—still sizzling, on

a hot stone plate. Urban Masai’s makange contrasts local village chicken with its notable tender texture and distinct taste. Makange is best paired with the iconic pilau, a fragrant basmati rice dish distinguished by the warm, comforting aromas of cumin, cardamom, and smoked paprika.

A standout Zambian menu item is the foiled fish or, as fans have called it, chimubabe. Urban Masai has since perfected its preparation, a closely guarded secret that results in a generously sized fish that is crispy on the outside and tender and fluffy on the inside. The statement dish starts at a whopping 1.4kg and is expertly seasoned, stuffed with potatoes and its famed garlic mix. Our dining experience concluded with a familiar, hearty goat soup with freshly made, in-house chapatis.

Our visit to Urban Masai unfolded a continent of flavours, deliciously crafted cocktails, and many East African staples. The menu serves breakfast from 7 am daily and includes familiar East African dishes such as chipsi mayai (French fries omelette) and mandazi—similar to deep-fried doughnuts. The restaurant is perfect for a lazy lunch, sundowners, or dinner. Head east on Great East to discover Urban Masai’s hidden world of East African cuisine.

Side Bar:

Eastern Appeal

  • The restaurant is divided into distinct areas for different dining needs. Masai Mara lounge is perfect for small groups, while Lusaka offers a relaxed dining area and beer garden style. Private booths for meetings, such as Asmara, are also available.

Shaken, not Stirred

  • Urban Masai offers a plethora of cocktails, from mango margaritas to the Masai Martini, a vanilla and vodka based cocktail, served with sparkling wine and a small taster.

Attention to Detail

  • Urban Masai prides itself on its strict adherence to quality control. All ingredients are sourced from local farmers and breeders. Every meat item is rigorously inspected before it enters the Urban Masai kitchen.

True to Nature

  • Urban Masai keeps a close-to-nature philosophy by sourcing free-range, organically fed chickens from local suppliers and wild fish sourced directly from Lake Tanganyika, giving all their food a unique, true-to-nature taste.

Contact Details

  • +260 96 2174691 or +260961550460 for reservations
    • Instagram:  @urban_masai.zm
    • Facebook: @Urban Masai

About Author /

Leave a Comment

Start typing and press Enter to search