Jamaican and Nigerian palates come together inside Dengi’s Kitchen, a new takeout business on the corner of King Street East and Tisdale Street North.
Gospel singer and self-taught chef Dengiyefa Akene saw a niche in the food world of Hamilton that had yet to be filled. By making Dengi’s Kitchen a reality, Akene filled that niche.
“I definitely thought that there was a need for Jamaican – Nigerian fusion in Hamilton,” said Akene. “I go to Toronto, I go to Brampton and it is out there . . . There’s a hunger for it, there’s a market for it and it was lacking in Hamilton. I figured I could bring that fusion to the neighbourhood.”
The menu has six options, four of which are pretty familiar (curry/jerk chicken and chicken/beef suya) while the last two are signature dishes of the restaurant. The oxtail noodles and Asun dishes are great, the former being comprised of spicy oxtail on a bed of spicy noodles and veggies, with the latter being nice portions of the spiced oxtail or goat on a bed of veggies drizzled in house peanut sauce.
With a small menu, deciding what to eat is not much of an issue. One would think a small menu would be off-putting, but according to Akene there has been no shortage of customers.
“I was expecting people to not even know,” said Akene. “But we have had a lot of people come in every day, new faces every day, so we try to get to know them and introduce the food to them.”
The small takeout kitchen has received great customer feedback during its grand opening week, with customers leaving loving reviews on the business’s Facebook page. One customer said, “Loved my beef suya meal. However, the goat will be what I get next time I’m in.”
Another customer went as far as to shout out the paperless receipt system, writing, “Real home cooked food will have you coming back for more & more. State of the art billing system.”
After purchasing your food, the receipt is sent to your phone via SMS. Most take-out kitchens don’t bother to get fancy with their billing systems, so this feature alone makes the kitchen stand out from the crowd.
In its opening week, Dengi’s Kitchen has managed to impress customer taste buds. Considering the chef’s self-taught background in cooking, the success of the grand opening could serve as a great example to those trying to start up their own small business. Call it beginner’s luck, or call it hard work and dedication. The proof is in the suya.