Unearthing Tamarind

If you know Mombasa, then you know of Tamarind and have been there or at least thought about it more than once in your life. If you do not, then sit tight, I will explain to you the hype behind this restaurant in a moment.

Tamarind has been around for about 40 years. There is something to say about a restaurant that has managed to stay relevant for decades, and is still ranked as one of the best. Its initial lure was because of how well they served sea food, and their attention to detail. That paired with its being built in the now dated, but still impressionable Arabian style of building along the North Coast of Mombasa.

I remember getting to Tamarind at around 3:00 pm on one of my days in Mombasa. It was hot. We had been on a tour around the city and were urgently in need of a refuel in the form of a hefty lunch and some form of unwinding. The old structures on the way in made a certain impression on me. I love old doors. I literally stopped at almost every one of them to take a picture or two. We had tried to get a booking to have dinner on the dhow, but the only available day was on the 31st and we had already made plans to take us into the New Year, so we settled for being shown what it looked like.

We sat down and chatted while we waited for our lunch and each had huge glasses of juice to cool us down. By the time the food made it to us, we were more than ready to dig in to it. We had:

Chargrilled Steak

Chargrilled Steak:

I will start with this because it is what I had.  I asked for well done beef steak and when it came, it was tender and topped with sautéed mushrooms, onions and creamy pepper sauce. I can tell you that I thoroughly enjoyed my meal.

Price KSH 1,350

Sri Lankan Chicken Masala

Sri Lankan Chicken Masala:

This chicken masaala meal was cooked with chunks of chicken in mushroom, corn and simmered in a rich masaala sauce enhanced with coconut cream, coriander, and served with rice and chapatti. It sounds like a coastal dream doesn’t it?

Price KSH 1650

Lamb Chops

Lamb Chops:

The lamb chops were supposed to be succulent and grilled with tamarind honey glaze and kachumbari salsa. Unfortunately, they were tough and inedible. I sat down and carefully took note of what happened when our waiter got the feedback. He apologised, and offered to replace the meal with another one – although at this point it was too late since we were about to move on to the next agenda. When he brought the bill, he deducted the cost of this meal from it, and once again apologised for their failure to deliver. If nothing else, I give Tamarind extra points for how they handled us. Not only did they diffuse the situation, they made an offer to rectify it.

Price KSH 1,350

Pasta of the House

Pasta of the House:

This was ashamedly the only meal we all ordered that had an inkling of sea food in it. I keenly watched for reactions on what its owner thought of it and I got nothing but positivity on its presentation, taste and overall composition. He had a steaming bowl of penne pasta served with mushroom sauce and a (very) liberal sprinkling of parmesan cheese – because you can never have enough cheese.

Price KSH 1200

You will notice that all of our sauces came served in shells. Nothing about this place let you forget that you were the coast – not to mention the fact that we were sitting facing the ocean and getting lost in our thoughts occasionally.

Have you ever been to Tamarind? What was your experience? If you have not, then comment and let us know what you thought of this blog post, or of any other places at the coast that we really must check out.

Let’s talk next week!