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KS Kitchen: A familiar space serving up something completely different (and delish)


The restaurant formerly known as Mint Bistro has been transformed into KS Kitchen, an elegant space for authentic American-Indian and Nepali cuisine. Photo/Carol Robidoux

MANCHESTER, NH – In a city where change is inevitable, walking into a familiar space to encounter something completely different happens. And so it was when my hubby and I recently entered the space that was most recently Mint Bistro to check out KS Kitchen, which advertises itself as an American-Indian and Nepali restaurant.

It was the same, only completely different.

We were the only diners eating in during this particular weekday lunch hour although there were a few take-out orders that came through. After our meal, I knew I needed to spread the gospel of KS Kitchen, which is sure to become a fan favorite among those obsessed with Indian/Napali cuisine once people find their way to 1105 Elm St.

Equally as exciting as discovering a new eatery, though, was our chance encounter with Curtis Lloyd, a local photographer who has found his niche shooting, among other things, restaurant food photos for Grub Hub and Uber Eats.

More on that in a moment.

Jim and I ordered a light lunch for the table and a few items to go. The hot garlic chicken from the appetizer menu was craveable and we had no trouble clearing the plate between the two of us. We also got some garlic naan bread and two different soups – Jim went for the Daal soup, which was more savory, and I had the sweet corn soup – both of them were brothy and comforting.

Because we were full enough to stop but still interested in trying more from the menu we got some butter chicken with rice to go and butter naan, and those provided just the right amount of food for dinner for two, following our early afternoon “light” lunch.

Post-COVID Take-Out and Delivery Still Trending

Back to our unexpected lunch companion, photographer Curtis Lloyd, who actually had a miscommunication with the owner about the timing of his arrival, which gave us plenty of time to chat while the various dishes he came to photograph were prepared. What we learned was that his services are important – especially for a new business like KS Kitchen, which is trying to put itself on the Manchester foodie map and stand out to those who prefer take-out to dining-in – a faction of consumers that is on the rise.

According to ToastTab the surge in delivery and takeout services since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic has proven to be a trend with staying power. Those restaurants who hung in there did so by pivoting to take out, with reliance on delivery services like Grub Hub and Uber Eats as a way of getting the people what they wanted, only for eating from the comfort and safety of their own homes.

And this trend has not only remained, but is particularly popular with millennials and Gen Z consumers: 63% of those ages 18-29 report using a delivery app or website in the last three months and, overall, food delivery service is an industry expected to exceed $45 billion by 2025.

Photographer Curtis Lloyd on location at KS Kitchen, taking a photo of the hot garlic chicken. His aim is to make mouths water among customers scrolling food delivery apps. Photo/Carol Robidoux
Camera-ready dishes ready for photographing for Grub Hub by Curtis Lloyd. Photo/Carol Robidoux

Lloyd’s job is simple: Capture the most sumptuous and mouth-watering photos possible to entice a potential customer who is scrolling through menu options on their delivery app of choice.

Of course, Jim and I were worried about what was going to happen to all the delicious food that was prepared for the photo op with Lloyd. Turns out it doesn’t go to waste. Sometimes restaurants invite Lloyd to take the food with him, a terrific occupational hazard if you like to eat food, as Lloyd does. Other times it will become a meal for the staff.

A Taste of Home

The ribbon for KS Kitchen was officially cut Oct. 15 with Mayor Joyce Craig wielding the giant golden scissors alongside restaurant owner Suman Budha Magar of Hooksett, who explained that his journey to Manchester is one that involved his desire to do something that felt more authentic for himself and his family following COVID.

Mayor Joyce Craig shares the giant golden scissors with KS Kitchen owner Saman Budha on Oct. 15 for the grand opening of the Nepali restaurant on Elm Street. Courtesy Photo

At that time Magar, who is also well known in his home country as a Nepali folk singer, was operating a cell phone business in New York and New Jersey since coming to the U.S. in 2010.

But following COVID, he decided his heart was not in it anymore and that New York was not the place he wanted to be. It was time to do something more authentic, and follow his dream.

They looked at all the possibilities, “from California to New Hampshire,” sayd Magar, and found that New Hampshire was everything they were looking for. His two uncles are longtime chefs so he recruited both of them, along with his brother, to create a menu for KS Kitchen. The name of the restaurant honors his hometown in Nepal.

“In Kola there are no roads, no nothing. We carry everything by yak and horse. That is where we came from and that is why it is KS Kitchen. K for Kola, and S for me, Saman,” Magar says. He runs the business side and leaves the cooking to his other family members, including his wife who had a restaurant in India for 11 years.

“She makes very good momo (dumplings) and other Nepali dishes,” Magar says.

Magar says it is his hope that KS Kitchen will help fill a void for authentic Nepalese cuisine and provide a new “favorite place” for regulars, whether they’re looking for a taste of home or an ethnic food adventure.

KS Kitchen is located at 1105 Elm St. in Manchester, NH.

Online Menu

Call for take out or dine-in (603) 512-5577.

Business Hours

Mon – Thurs:10:00 AM – 11:30 PM
Fri-Sun.10:00 AM – 2:00 AM


About this Contributor

Carol Robidoux

PublisherManchester Ink Link

Longtime NH journalist and publisher of ManchesterInkLink.com. Loves R&B, German beer, and the Queen City!

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