Of course, steak and poultry also are on offer, but that’s not the reason to make a reservation at this decidedly upscale restaurant with attentive yet unobtrusive service in an elegant (albeit dated) décor in muted tones of beige, brown and gold with lots of mirrors to reflect the candlelight.
Starters draw from a wide range of world cuisine, from Japanese sushi and sashimi to Thai-spiced prawns and octopus fried in the Spanish style. I opted for the house special, a fish soup that’s an Indian Ocean version of bouillabaisse served with croutons and a Provençale-style sauce of olive oil, garlic, saffron, chili peppers and breadcrumbs. There also are a variety of salads, including one that features a tomato slowly baked in red wine and spices (yes, I was tempted).
Of course I had lobster for my main course (the lobster here isn’t the American lobster you’d find in much of the United States, but the spiny rock lobster found in tropical waters. The obvious difference: no large claws). For my choice, Lobster Swahili, the meat is taken out of the shell, sautéed in garlic, turmeric, saffron, tomatoes and coconut cream, and returned to the shell. It was served with coconut rice and a side of carrots and green beans.
My Crêpes Mount Kenya dessert came with a surprise: a greeting by name written along the rim in chocolate.
Dining here is among the more expensive options in Nairobi. Expect to spend at least 3000 KES for dinner.
The Tamarind Nairobi is open for lunch and dinner Monday through Saturday, and for dinner on Sunday. If you don’t have a reservation, go early. The place doesn’t get busy until 9 p.m.