It’s late in the afternoon. The sun streams in through the palm trees vividly as the coastal winds gently whisper in the open-air Sails Beach Bar & Restaurant. I find myself studying a plate of grilled seafood more intently than usual. Mostly, I am trying to work out what is that glorious aroma. Staring at the delicately stacked plate of freshly-caught seafood, I know exactly what I think: that this may be the single best plate of food I have been served so far in Diani, Kenya.
Sails Beach Bar & Restaurant is located in Almanara Luxury Villas, Diani Beach, Kenya. For more information and to book, click here. Special thanks to Eat Out Coast. On average, a meal costs around Kshs 2,400 per person.
My short time at Sails, situated at Almanara Luxury Villas, revealed a near-faultless piece of cooking in Diani. It was all extraordinarily simple and well-balanced, but insanely packed with flavours and aromas.
The Tuna Carpaccio laced with ginger, lime, soya sauce, red chillies, roast sesame seeds and coriander melted in my mouth as my taste buds sang to me like a choir. There was the Watermelon, Feta and Mint Salad – refreshing and the perfect balance between salty and sweet. And then, Diani’s best dish so far: beautifully grilled squid, slightly curled with its diagonal crosshatch pattern, atop a stack of lobsters and prawns caramelized from the grill. A final spritz of lime juice at the table unleashed the natural sweetness of the tender lobster meat – a shameless, delicious stack of seafood. Around this are effective modernist touches: abstractly placed green leafy herbs and wedges of lime. There you have it: three beautifully poised, close to faultless dishes, eaten, enjoyed and reminisced often.
Sails is a collaboration between Executive Chef Luke – former London’s Savoy Hotel and Kenya’s Muthaiga Club – and the talented Almanara team. Later, when he emerged from the modest ocean-view kitchen, it would transpire that not only was Chef Luke writing a cracking menu here, too – he was also cooking it.
Shielded from the sun by large sail shade canopies, Sails also has draping fabric and colourful cushions to match. Set beachside, no where on the restaurant frontage is its name. Perhaps, letters were messy or maybe Sails doesn’t need to advertise.
It’s easy to get carried away, to overstate what is going on here. But Sails simply wants to be best in class and then some. It wants to celebrate the best ingredients on its doorstep, and cook it simply, uncomplicated. Whether you’re prepared to take my word for it, is entirely up to you.
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