The new Tamarind Tree Hotel in Nairobi, by the Tamarind hospitality group, has brought together some of their best meals from over 40 years of catering. It is located on the Carnivore grounds, off Lang'ata Road.
While waiting for my lunch partner, I took a walk around the lobby. The interiors have muted earth colours and minimal decor that create a sense of space.
Photographs from all over Kenya hang on the walls.
The Tamarind Tree employees wear all-black casual attire printed with words like Welcome, Food, and Meet, for the different parts of the hotel. The outfits add to the fashionable feel of the business hotel which opened last October.
The hotel is also suitable for holiday travellers, as it is close to the Nairobi National Park and other city tourist attractions.
The hotel has high-top work stations where guests can work in a sunlit foyer instead of the business centre tucked away in windowless room.
I had a quick look at the guestrooms, which look bright, roomy and comfortable.
At the other end of the lobby the Duka Coffee shop serves salads, sandwiches, snacks and beverages.
“People are much more on the go. So if they can stop and pick up something, or order and it is brought straight up to the room, it’s a lot easier,” said Gavin Bell, the director of food and beverage development.
It was a sunny day, so I sat at table on the terrace of the Tamambo Restaurant overlooking the swimming pool. Once the trees grow tall, it will be a splendid garden view. On busy days there is a lunch buffet indoors, where the surrounding walls are covered in vibrant pictures of local farming communities.
I ordered a tree tomato juice and orange juice mix. It was cool and refreshing. From the a la carte menu I was tempted to start off with some calamari, but opted for a beetroot and goat cheese salad with sprig of mint leaves.
From the main course I had the Zanzibari Samaki wa Kupaka (sea fish fillet slathered in a rich, tomato sauce flavoured with coconut.) It is a signature Tamarind dish that does not disappoint.
Bell said that their steaks are all cut from beef that is dry-aged for 21 days. The menu also has international offers like the middle-eastern Mezze platter of bites and dips, and the pork belly cubes prepared Oriental style. This month the hotel will introduce a Sunday brunch.
The desserts are mostly traditional items such as apple pie and cheesecake. I had the Tamambo brownie with vanilla ice cream, which had a nice, light texture but was slightly dry.
On the way out we passed through the Dawa Lounge, designed with snazzy floor to ceiling neon photography, which serves the Tamarind’s famous Dawa cocktail of vodka, lime juice and honey. The hotel is installing a sound-barrier to contain the music in the evenings.