May 17, 2022 - Food and Drink

Kenyan eatery in Austin wows

Food options from Kibanda

Food from The Kibanda — ng'ombe, top left, with collard greens and chapati; in foil, the rolex; and smoked sausage, bottom. Photo: Asher Price/Axios

Craving something different, we recently tried The Kibanda, a new Kenyan eatery operating out of GhostLine Kitchens, which is basically a stylish commissary deluxe off East Ben White Boulevard in Southeast Austin.

  • There's no table service at GhostLine — instead you order at a window, or online, and your food is presented at a pick-up window.
  • There are plenty of shaded picnic tables for dining.

Unexpected — and happy — marriages of flavors abound at The Kibanda. We ordered:

  • The rolex — a delicious Kenyan omelet stuffed with beef and cabbage, and rolled in a flaky chapati;
  • Smoked sausage topped with a fresh tomato and onion relish known as kachumbari;
  • And, the winner, ng'ombe — a tender beef stew, served with sukuma wiki — bright-tasting collard greens.

After the meal we caught up with Eva Bundi, the cook and proprietor, who grew up in central Kenya.

  • Back home, a kibanda is "basically a semi-permanent place where middle class and working class go to grab a good meal that is not expensive," she said — and that's the idea behind GhostLine. "It's good food without the frills of a fine-dining restaurant."
  • She moved to Austin toward the end of 2020, amid the tumult of the pandemic, after stints in Seattle and South Carolina.
  • "I toured Austin and fell in love with it and went back to South Carolina and moved here within a month."

The bottom line: "I realized there's no Kenyan restaurant and decided to go for it," she said.


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