A meal at the flagship Indian restaurant at Nairobi’s newest hotel, The Concord, is an education.
Curry Flavors offers a window into something else. Despite its location close to Diamond Plaza in the busy Nairobi neighbourhood of Parklands, a popular shopping mall with a food court known to house cheap and cheerful Indian offerings, this new restaurant still inspires us into the way of the exotic and scrumptious.
In Kenya, where there is a long-standing and flourishing Indian community with plenty of cheap and cheerful choices, when an Indian restaurant further-up market opens, the patronizing argument that Indian food is not a luxurious experience and therefore can only be cheap creeps into conversations. Fans of refined Indian cuisine will argue the contrary.
At Curry Flavors, the restaurant’s fit-out is modern and glossy with subtle touches that remind you of India. Suspended copper salt and pepper shakers dangle from a stand on the table, copper goblets welcome you with refreshing watermelon mint water as you snack on crunchy and wafer-thin Papadums. Most importantly the food is delivered with a serious kick of execution and flavours.
My companions and I begin with the Tomato Basil Soup (KSh 350) that sounds more Mediterranean but with the infused Indian spices the Shorba was not what one would expect. Heavy on the garlic, but for people such as myself who love garlic, the soup hit the spot. Though I had ordered “mild,” I would equate the spicy heat level comparable to Tabasco – so for lightweights, make sure you explicitly warn the kitchen. The Chicken Consomme (KSh 400) flavoured with saffron and ginger arrived with a layer of oil floating on the surface. But once you dive past the glisten, the clear broth is an absolute pleasure with fine cubes of chicken floating about.
The Gilafi Gosht Seekh Kebab (KSh 900), spiced lamb mince skewers, arrived rust-coloured, moist, tender, absolutely delicious and large in portion for a starter. The star dish amid the starters: grilled over charcoal, marinated with curry leaves and pounded spices, are the marinated prawns – Meethi Neem Ka Amritsari Jheenga (KSh1,650) – were equally well-portioned. Perfectly grilled, their meaty flesh still sweet and firm, the prawns were rich in flavour and tasted incredibly fresh.
The menu attempts to represent all states and territories in India. From the Bengali-style fish tikka with combination of house pickled onions and mustard oil, Macchi Khatta Pyaz (KSh 950), to Ragani Gosht Baluch (KSh 950), traditional lamb stew with onion and yoghurt, to Boneless lamb leg cooked in traditional yoghurt sauce, Gosht Dahiwala (KSh 850); my companions and I were in culinary Indian bliss. The dishes were a luscious fine balance of rich and velvety gravies and delicate meats that would flake or breakaway in strands. The fish was definitely my favourite! Accompanied by garlic naan that was perfectly crisp on the outside and its center still soft and stretchy, and Dilkhush Paan Ki Biryani (KSh 550) which threw my tastebuds for a loop thanks to the pungent paan – definitely a little too overpowering paired with the rich mains.
Fried dumplings in rose scented sugar syrup rounded-off our delightful meal. Served with some ice cream, the Gulab Jamun (KSh 600) played with the extreme temperatures of hot and cold – the perfect theatrical way to end one of the better refined Indian dinners I’ve had in a while.
The service is attentive and perhaps because of its location in a hotel, the hospitality was impressively warm and patient. No, none of the dishes are cheap. But given what cheap and cheerful Indian eateries taste like, Curry Flavors is certainly worth the trip.
NAIROBI FOOD TOUR KENYA AFRICA SUSAN WONG TRAVEL NAIROBI FOOD TOUR KENYA AFRICA SUSAN WONG NAIROBI FOOD TOUR KENYA AFRICA SUSAN WONG TRAVEL