Hailed by locals as one of only two restaurants in Mombasa where one can have an authentic sundowners’ experience (the other being J.D’s), with great drinks and a sweeping view of the sun setting over Tudor Creek, Thalassa Restaurant and Lounge is a must visit. Its stunning views, bold cooking, and a whimsical menu that reads like a humourous fairy tale is almost enough to make anyone take-up French cuisine under the watchful eye of Chef Olivier Hebert.
Situated on an escarpment next to the new Nyali Bridge , overlooking the calm waters of Tudor Creek, where the Indian ocean narrows and bends around the Mombasa mainland, Thalassa is accessible by boat and also of course by more traditional means, car. A spacious parking lot leads to the grand entrance of the Makuti-roofed complex: discotheque, lounge, pool club, Shisha Bar, Pizza Garden and restaurant.
Thalassa’s restaurant serves primarily a French-focused menu, high above the property, offering sweeping views of Thalassa’s natural surroundings. A phenomenal view is lovely, but the challenge is to communicate the intense sense of place through the food on the plate, which Chef Hebert effortlessly does.
They say for the French, food is in the blood. Inspired by his family’s home-cooking and his extensive travels, Chef Hebert enlivens traditional French cooking with exotic flavours of the Orient and Africa.
To start, there was the modern twist of a classic tartare (Sh 900), uniting fresh Northern Salmon and tender Pacific Tuna in a dark sesame “sea.” Served in a famous miniature French cast-iron pot by Le Creuset, the chicken liver mousse (Sh 700) was creamy and as read on the menu, “soft as clouds.” The mousse was deliciously accentuated with sweet homemade onion jam. And a seafood platter with garlic mayonnaise (Sh 1,750) that was impressively plated like one had just taken a stroll on the beach.
For the mains there was the catch of the day (Sh 1,550), which was served with a flavourful salsa and a golden butternut puree. Moist and tender, the pan-seared fillet was tantalizingly good. Served with ratatouille, a tower of lamb (Sh 1,550), slowly cooked for eight hours, was so tender that even a spoon could cut through it. If you’re looking to sample something that will make a statement; set ablaze, the tinfoil sculpture of the Trojan Duck, certainly will. Peeling back the foil reveals a delicious steaming seafood melody.
And to complete the lovely meal, the Lifestyle team settled for the Croccantino (Sh 500), a vanilla ice cream based dessert coated in dark rum, chocolate sauce and topped with a sprinkling of caramel cashew nuts. The Tarte Tatin Ananas (Sh 700), pineapple tart, was light and refreshing to the palette.
The delectable meal was complemented well by prompt and knowledgeable service from the staff. Thalassa’s current Tripadvisor ranking of No. 2 is certainly well deserved.
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