The Sahara brings African cuisine to Northampton

A taste of Africa to the heart of Northampton

Nestled in Northampton, The Sahara Restaurant offers a vibrant taste of Africa right in the heart of the town. In a great location opposite the Northampton Filmhouse in Derngate, I wouldn’t be surprised if it made a regular spot for pre- or post-movie dinner date!

On the evening of its grand opening on Friday 17 May, we arrived fashionably late – much later than ‘oyinbo’ but definitely, earlier than Naija time! Yet, we were greeted with warmth and joy by the hostess with the mostest, Khadijah and her amazing team.

Their friendly and attentive service set the tone for the evening. Immediately. we found ourselves immersed in an inviting atmosphere, complete with the delicious aroma of African food wafting from the kitchen and the sound of the Victor Ola band entertaining the guests.

The Sahara aims to bring a wide range of African food to its diners from Northampton and further afield. The menu at The Sahara is a rich tapestry of African flavours, featuring a variety of dishes that cater to diverse tastes and dietary needs, from dishes such as Waakye (plain rice cooked in black bean sauce) from Khadijah’s native Ghana to Guinean delicacies such as Attieke, Congolese dishes Makayaba and Pondu, and of course Nigerian favourites such as Egusi and Okro. Let’s not even get into a debate of where Jollof originates from! There is of course all time favourites from across Africa such as plantain and tilapia, as well as a variety of chicken for the less adventurous diner. The Sahara serves not only lunch and dinner but breakfast too with a wide selection on the menu.

As we made our way down to the basement, Khadijah’s taste of simplicity was evident in the decor with an understated decor, which blended gray features and the occasional splash of vibrant pink in floral decorations and striking light features. What really caught my eye was a range of monochrome graphic prints of inspirational quotes. Dinner with a side of motivational art? Yes, please!

First on the tapas-style menu designed by Khadijah for the opening night was the salad served alongside a sharing platter of Tarba (seasoned goat meat, served with onions) which reminded me of Nigerian Suya. The meat was tender and succulent, marinated to perfection, with just the perfect dose of pepper.

Next on the menu was the Rice Platter, offering a taste of Waakye (plain rice cooked in black eye beans), Vegetable Fried Rice and of course, Jollof (The Ghanaian one, I was told!) While I am not a convert just yet, I could be convinced to occasionally dine out on Ghanaian Jollof.

To accompany our meal, we sipped on the refreshing Zobolo, a hibiscus and ginger drink, both tart and sweet, providing a perfect palate cleanser between bites. The restaurant also offers a selection of African beers and wines, which further enhance the dining experience.

One of the notable aspects of The Sahara is its attention to detail and commitment to authenticity. The flavours are robust and true to their roots, and the presentation is both appealing and appetizing.

In summary, The Sahara Restaurant in Northampton is a gem for those looking to explore African cuisine in a welcoming and relaxed setting. The combination of excellent service, authentic dishes, and a warm atmosphere makes it a must-visit for anyone in the area. Whether you’re a seasoned lover of African food or new to the cuisine, The Sahara promises a delightful culinary journey that will leave you eager to return.

The Sahara is located at 19-21 Derngate, Northampton NN1 1TY , Northampton, United Kingdom

Give them a follow on Instagram @thesahararestauran and Facebook You can also order take-away directly or via Uber Eats or Deliveroo.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.