Hamilton Gastropub, the latest addition to Dar es Salaam’s entertainment circuit, had a soft opening last month, promising a unique experience of food and drink.
"Our plan is to focus on elevating our offering and services, while getting our staff in tune with what we are trying to do. Then we will start organising open promotions, complete with live band music," said Amos Chibaya , the hotel's assistant director of food and beverages.
Overlooking the harbour on the eighth floor of the five-star Johari Rotana Hotel, the gastropub offers a picturesque view of the city and harbour in downtown Dar.
"The set-up and ambience are different from other pubs, and we have seen more clients coming to see and sample our version of a gastropub. Eventually we will determine how many actually understand the concept," Chibaya said.
Having worked in the hospitality industry in Dubai, he explains: "Gastropubs are essentially an amalgamation of the words gastronomy and pub, placing an equal emphasis on offering good food alongside the drink."
He says that gastropubs serving extensive meal varieties began to take root around 1991, with most of them targeting more upper-class patrons. Food preparation techniques also evolved and started to pay more attention to embellishment details and quality standards.
He adds that to get the new establishment off the ground they have chosen to serve mostly local food, and offer bottled beers while introducing the pour-from-the-tap concept typical of gastropubs in other parts of the continent, with South Africa being a prime example.
They serve Tanzanian street food such as chips-mayai for Tsh10,000 ($4.33), zege and chicken makange for Tsh 26,000 ($11.25), all prepared with special Rostana cooking flavours.
"Most typical gastropubs around the world mix and serve their own home brews. We have realised it needs time to catch on in Tanzania," Chibaya said.
The prices at Hamilton's are in keeping with the hotel's five-star status. Grilled skewers of various meats cost Tsh20,000 ($8.66), burgers Tsh25,000 ($10.82), a T-bone steak Tsh60,000 ($26) seafood platter Tsh90,000 ($39) and combos Tsh100,000 ($43.3).