#SusanEats: Legendary dining at Tamarind Nairobi

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Tamarind Nairobi restaurant photographed by Susan Wong 2012 - barack obama

Practically synonymous with the term “fine dining” in Kenya, the iconic Tamarind Nairobi has built a culinary legacy and withstood the test of time.  Since 1977, the Tamarind has entertained the social elite of Nairobi and those from all over the world.  Presidents, prime ministers, dignitaries, musicians, sports heroes and movie stars have graced the dining room of Tamarind, most famously US President Barack Obama and Kenya’s first president Jomo Kenyatta and first lady Mama Ngina.  It wouldn’t be surprising if political and business decisions that have impacted the world were quietly made over a delicious meal, cognac and cigars in the private dining room overlooking the lofty restaurant space.

With such history and tradition, a visit to Tamarind may seem a bit intimidating at first to some, but if you’re a genuine food lover, you’ll go home with raving reviews as long as you remember to switch off your mobile phone as the subtle sign suggests on every table – there’s absolutely no room for blaring Rihanna ringtones here.

Blue walls and colourful stained glass windows of the restaurant keep the historic space light and airy. The numerous original lanterns continue to glow and hang from the high ceilings like they did almost three decades ago, creating that familiar intimacy that dedicated Tamarind followers have come to love.

Tamarind Nairobi restaurant photographed by Susan Wong 2012Deliciously rich paté and shrimp with olives kept the Capital Lifestyle Magazine team occupied as we skimmed through the oversized menu in black, which was as large as a newspaper.  A separate vegetarian menu ensured everyone was taken care of.

For starters, the new addition on the menu, Hibiscus Flamed Seafood was particularly memorable.  Lightly flamed tuna, calamari, prawns, octopus served with a rhubarb, hibiscus dressing and finished with a sprinkling of pine nut kernels.  There’s nothing better than the slight smoky and charred flavours from a hot grill paired with a sweet and savoury dressing.  Exotic!

If you’re a soup person, the Amaranth and Prawn soup was incredibly flavourful where the layers of infused amaranth (wild spinach), prawn broth and the drizzling of black pepper oil left our palettes’ begging for more.

The team branched away from the regular steak mainstays of Tamarind and sampled some seafood favourites like Mama Regina’s Masala Prawns, named after a retired Tamarind chef.  The dish packed a light spicy punch, which didn’t mask the natural sweetness of the fresh prawns.  The Red Snapper and Prawns Harissa showcased exotic Morocccan spices with a Brandy-infused green peppercorn cream.  The green peppercorn sauce was very delicious and aromatic, but not pungent like other pepper-based creams.

For dessert, whole tree tomatoes poached in red wine and spices served with vanilla ice cream was undoubtedly refreshing, especially with the light undertones of fresh mint.  For the chocolate lovers, Capital Lifestyle Magazine suggests the Chocolate Explosion for a healthy cocoa fix.

 

FOODBLOG: Photo credit Susan Wong

Tamarind Nairobi restaurant photographed by Susan Wong 2012

Hibiscus Flamed Seafood

Tamarind Nairobi restaurant photographed by Susan Wong 2012

Amaranth and Prawn Soup

Tamarind Nairobi restaurant photographed by Susan Wong 2012

Classic Caesar Salad

Tamarind Nairobi restaurant photographed by Susan Wong 2012

Tamarind nairobi photographed by susan wong 2012

Mama Regina’s Masala Prawns

Tamarind Nairobi restaurant photographed by Susan Wong 2012

Pwani Vegetable Swahili

Tamarind Nairobi restaurant photographed by Susan Wong 2012

Tamarind Nairobi restaurant photographed by Susan Wong 2012

 Chocolate Explosion

 

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/tamarindnairobi

 

 

 

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SUSAN WONG

Susan Wong is the Editor of Capital Lifestyle, a resident photographer, an award-winning journalist, radio presenter, full-time adventurer, long-time admirer of anything edible, and a spicy food athlete at Capital FM.

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