Talisman is a touch of tranquility, elegance, and comfort, which slowly unravels with each visit and is best witnessed in their menu and décor. A beautiful hideaway in the Nairobi suburb of Karen, Talisman looks like it could be straight out of a double-page spread in a home-design magazine. And, that’s exactly it – Talisman feels like home.
Talisman combines the coziness of the indoors with the natural beauty of the outside world, which in the realm of design, is difficult to balance. Yes, there are many al fresco dining spaces in Nairobi, but where restaurants go wrong is that their choice of fabrics and furniture often overwhelms the natural green spaces, ultimately taking away from a diner’s experience. There’s a reason why many local painters choose to spend their afternoons painting on Talisman’s premises – inspiring and relaxing, why would anyone go anywhere else?
Towering trees, lush ferns and beautiful flowers envelope you as you walk in, and as its name suggests, Talisman, evokes a certain magical emotional response. Character-filled wooden tables are spaciously placed in carefully selected locations throughout the restaurant: partially indoors next to a large inviting fireplace with pillows where long evenings and cocktails await; unassuming round tables on the terrace inspire great lazy afternoons with the family; and tables for two shielded by the beautiful plants ensures even the more romantic diners have some privacy.
Talisman’s service was professional and cheerful. The Capital Lifestyle team managed to share some laughs with the staff, and everyone was very proficient in explaining and suggesting dishes on the menu.
The Talisman menu is filled with classics that if removed, would probably cause a neighbourhood uprising. The Feta and Coriander Samosas has been a staple on the menu for years, but regulars still crave its savoury, creamy and refreshing filling, folded neatly and fried in the crunchiest of wrappers. The salty Classic Talisman Thai Prawns served in a sweet and lightly spicy Thai dipping sauce is also another head-turning favourite.
Talisman’s cuisine is imaginative, but never strays too far away from known favourites. For the daring, try the Smoked Ostrich Carpaccio with Rocket Leaves and Olive Oil Dressing. The heavily smoked flavour was too overpowering for my taste, but having an alternative to the regular beef or fish carpaccio was a delightful surprise. For the steak lovers, Talisman serves up some mouth-watering cuts that melt in your mouth. If you’re a spice lover, try one of the Thai curries simmered slowly in bamboo shoots served with jasmine rice and spicy Paw Paw salad. And, don’t forget Talisman’s mammoth burgers – juicy, fresh and hearty.
According to Eat Out, at Talisman, the average cost is about Sh 1,750 per person. With the beautiful grounds and happening bar area, don’t be surprised if you end up racking up a bill after a leisurely afternoon. Definitely worth it though.
For location details, prices, and how you can book online – make sure you check out Eat Out Kenya! Check it out now! http://www.eatout.co.ke/talisman
Smoked Ostrich Carpaccio with Rocket Leaves and Olive Oil Dressing
Seared Yellow Fin Tuna, Som Tam Salad and Wasabi Cream Croquette – dependent on availability, and Capital Lifestyle suggests medium rare
Classic Talisman Thai Prawns
Bacon Cheese Burger
Kaeng Khiao Red Chicken Curry with bamboo shoots, jasmine rice and spicy Paw Paw Salad
Char-grilled Fillet Steak with Wasabi Mustard Hollandaise, Grilled Peppers and Bhajias
Knicker Bocker Glory Ultimate Sundae Ice Cream