Swahili cuisine is always a must try and the fact that it’s not just found at the Coast makes it a diverse testament to the different flavour palettes of the country
Last week, we got treated to the first Lamu Tamu Night at the Intercontinental Hotel which basically consists of some of the finest chefs serving up tasty Coastal dishes in the heart of the CBD. This weekly experience brings you an unrivaled spread of Swahili cuisine which also consists of Madafu as a welcome drink and live cooking stations matched with the perfect ambience.
Here’s my take on our experience and why your Thursday calendar should include Lamu Tamu:
The Terrace restaurant, which is where the experience was, was adorned with Swahili artefacts and lesos all over the restaurant. They also had smooth Coastal music at the background with the staff also clad in kanzus and lesos which really brought the feeling of being down at the Coast. Although we were supposed to have Madafu as our welcome drink, we got served fresh juice which was a bit of a let down for me.
It was a buffet serving which made it the ideal situation for those of us who were absolutely starving! I’ve never been one to serve salads so I went straight to the main serving station.
I first had a serving of katlesi za mayai; egg cutlets (eggs coated in breadcrumbs), a bit of ndizi kaanga; fried plantain and samaki paka (deep fried coated fish with flour and eggs). The egg cutlets were very tasty though it was a new experience for me having eggs served that way. The samaki paka was full of flavour but was a bit too soggy for my liking – I love my fish a bit crunchy and that’s where the fish kebab shined.
Away from the fish, the grilled pork chops (mbavu za mbuzi ulaya) was my best meat dish of the night. Not too spicy and not too hard, the pork chops were beautifully grilled and it was honestly an extreme sport trying not to lick my fingers.
Next I had a generous serving of the potato bhajia: (garam coated deep fried potatoes with split gram flour) and a bit of savoury kitoweo – mixed sweet potato with arrowroots and green bananas which went down well with the bhajia. I also sprinkled a generous serving of mango pickles with the potato bhajia which sounds a bit weird but the Kamba in me couldn’t resist having the pickles.
They also had bhajia, which was different from the potato bhajia which was just the right amount of crunchy I needed in my life. I just wished it was a tad bit spicier.
When it came to the pilau, the chefs had nailed every aspect of getting it right from the flavour to the spices to the varieties of stews they had next to the pilau which brings me to my second favourite meat dish of the night, the octopus stew. Saruni from Urbwise couldn’t stand seeing me eat it but it was so so good – it almost tasted like rabbit and I’d definitely recommend the octopus any day – I’m sorry Saruni 😂
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Our guests relished the locale with our authentic Lamu Tamu Night flavors. Karibuni tena every Thursday evening for the true taste of coastal delicacies! 6:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. Kshs. 3,500 per person. For reservations, please call +254 713 600 609 or email firstname.lastname@example.org #LamuTamu #Terrace #InterContinentalLife #IHGFoodie
I didn’t get to have much of the dessert since I stuffed myself with the other dishes especially the meat. Oh yeah, we also got a taste of Leleshwa wine – I had a glass of dry white wine that washed down the food beautifully.
For 3,500 per person, the experience is definitely worth the try – especially for anyone looking to enjoy coastal dishes without leaving the city.