I am not one who is overly enthusiastic about food, actually, I am pretty unexcited by food. I am too choosy – this I have heard more than enough times. For instance, I dislike tomatoes, whether raw or cooked, any kind of vegetable that doesn’t “die” when cooked it just a no-no for me. I also fear trying out new things, I like my stomach’s comfort zone, things I am used to.
Maybe these traits make me the perfect food critic, no? Well… I will still tell you about my experience when I decided to treat my taste buds to some Swahili food at the Intercontinental Hotel – Nairobi, during their weekly Lamu Tamu Night.
Going by the name, it is clear that this particular night is not just about random coastal dishes but specifically from the island of Lamu – a place I have never been to but thank 2018 miracles for bringing their food to me – now someone airlift me to Lamu!
Intercon took the Lamu Tamu theme to heart. The whole terrace restaurant was clad in lesos and Swahili artefacts, the staff too were not left behind. From traditional kanzus on the men to women dressed in leso outfits, the coastal theme was a hit.
This well-executed theme had the effect of making me feel out of place, clad in my grey hoodie and navy blue jeans but none the less, I loved the attention to detail… Even the serving pots were actual pots, a nice touch but I think Intercon should have been bold enough not to offer spoons or any cutlery and serve the guests in sinias – it’s a coastal themed dinner anyway.
Hey, remember how much I didn’t know about food, well, keep that in mind. This is a Maasai who loves – I repeat, loves, meat. It is all I eat at buffets and Lamu Tamu night was not gonna be any different. The much I knew about coastal food is kashatas (which was actually there), pilau and everything covered in coconut. So once I was settled in at Intercontinental Hotel I quickly filled my plate with meat.
I skipped the millennial appetizer shenanigans and went straight to the main course. I had faux bhajia, fried potatoes, fish, grilled pork chops – this was a pleasant surprise, fish kebabs, sizzling beef, chapati stuffed with sizzling chicken and beans cooked with coconut. Sounds a bit too much? I had two plates – It’s a buffet, you gotta eat the money’s worth!The meat was a delight – especially the beef and pork chops. The fish was a bit too hard for my liking but that’s nitpicking because I finished the whole thing. However, I didn’t like the beans at all. Something about them was just not right. I did get to try Octopus curry, you know that statement, where people say everything tastes like chicken, yeah, same case here –
so not true. There were more varieties of stew and other dishes like ugali and pilau to go around but naah… I went there for the meat!
The Lid on the Pot
In one sentence, the Lamu Tamu night was a delight – especially for anyone who enjoys coastal traditions and food. I had hoped to find a variety of more traditional food but that expectation wasn’t met – don’t let my meat excitement fool you. The menu was more of what you can easily find along Moi Avenue mezzanine restaurants for much less than the Kes.3500 asking price.
But it’s not just about the food now, is it? Intercontinental Hotel Nairobi is selling an experience. A fully coastal theme, every Thursday night for anyone to drown themselves in traditional coastal food and a few modern dishes to compliment. Top that off with the premium nature of the hotel and I can’t wait for the next Thursday Lamu Tamu night.