NJ’s Kitchen, an international halal buffet, is infusing some spice (and commerce) into Churchill Square in early June.
Bangladeshi chef and owner Jamil Hossain has been living in St. John’s for five years as a permanent resident of Newfoundland, operating NJ’s Kitchen as a catering business out of downtown.
“N for Nipa, my wife, and J for Jamil as myself,” he says. “So, it’s our kitchen since we both will be executing our culinary skills and passion.”
“My wife Nipa is my inspiration,” says Hossain. “She will bring the real Bangladeshi recipes to introduce new flavour and taste of gourmet Bangladeshi foods to Newfoundland.”
Hossain is bringing over a decade of culinary experience that spans Southeast Asia, as well as North and South America, but his heart is in his East Indian flavours. Spice blends are essential to East Indian cooking, with Bangladeshi cuisine relying on garlic,fennel, ginger, coriander, cumin, turmeric and chili, along with cardamom and cinnamon.
Hossain is excited to bring big flavour to the St. John’s culinary scene, with East Indian standards like beef curry and butter chicken, alongside Hossain’s own favourites like Haleem soup (a slow-cooked stew of beef, a mix of lentils, rice and barley), goat meat curry, and tuna kebobs. For dessert, there’s homemade rice pudding, infused with saffron and rose water.
At NJ’s Kitchen, Hossain will continue to offer catering services, along with lunch and dinner service, with eat-in and take-out options. NJ’s Kitchen will be serving daily halal buffet twice a day, focusing on East Indian, Arabian, Hakka Chinese (or “Indian Chinese”), Thai, and Mexican dishes on a daily basis.
Hossain’s desire to provide an abundance of choice comes from his own struggles trying to eat halal in St. John’s, where only a few suppliers exist. Halal refers to foods that are permissible for Muslims to eat or drink under Islamic Shariʻah law.
“We will be serving all halal and non-alcoholic foods to attract the Muslim community,” says Jamil. “It is a big market in St. John’s and Newfoundland.”
Hossain is busy staffing the kitchen and front of the house, and waiting for the final pieces of equipment to arrive, as he makes the final arrangements for an early June grand opening.
NJ’s Kitchen is opening in Churchill Square in early June.