THE TAL­IS­MAN EL­E­GANT GASTROLOUNGE

Nomad Africa Magazine - - Focus Africa | Africa’s Renewable Energy -

The tal­is­man restau­rant is one of the most ex­cit­ing unique food des­ti­na­tions in Nairobi. It is sit­u­ated at Ngong road, Karen. It is per­fect for any­one look­ing for a restau­rant away from the hus­tle and buzz of the al­ways busy and noisy city that is Nairobi. It is one of the best re­viewed restau­rants in Nairobi and has got­ten the at­ten­tion of the culi­nary scene from New York, won mul­ti­ple awards on trip ad­vi­sor, cul­ture trip and taste awards and one of the nom­i­nees of the world lux­ury travel awards this year.

It has a rich his­toric back­ground con­sid­er­ing it has been es­tab­lished for more than 15years. It has that mod­ern con­tem­po­rary artis­tic am­bi­ence to it. One is eas­ily taken in by the warm homey vibe it ex­udes. The restau­rant is de­signed in such a way that ev­ery­one can en­joy them­selves and feel com­fort­able. From those who want a warm re­lax­ing at­mos­phere while sip­ping on wine or read­ing a novel, to the ro­man­tic cou­ple look­ing for a smooth, ro­man­tic vibe and even the pa­tron who wants to en­joy their meal out­doors. I would say it is very in­clu­sive and they have cer­tainly put a lot of thought and con­sid­er­a­tion for ev­ery client.

The most no­tice­able unique fea­ture at the restau­rant is not their carved wooden pil­lars from Pak­istan or their beau­ti­ful re­fined Afghan rugs, charm­ing fire­places, stretched ter­races and bliss­ful gar­dens but rather the amaz­ing art on the walls. Any tourist will be mind blown by the amaz­ing pieces they have grac­ing their walls.

The tal­is­man restau­rant of­fers a wide range of food and a very in­clu­sive all or­ganic menus. Hav­ing been in Nairobi for a while, they have learnt what works best and have played a huge part in en­hanc­ing and shap­ing the palate of the Nairo­bian. They source only for the best and fresh in­gre­di­ents from Kenya and be­yond. The tal­is­man restau­rant gets most of its sea food from Lamu in Mom­basa and their spices from Thai­land

and it in­cor­po­rates most of its in­gre­di­ents from their or­ganic gar­den.

I got the chance to see their pic­turesque gar­den and I was truly im­pressed. Most of the salad in­gre­di­ents from toma­toes, car­rot, co­rian­der, straw­ber­ries and herbs (such as Jas­mine and le­mon grass) used in brew­ing herbal tea are all planted by the in-house by the restau­rant it­self. I was in awe to see that they rear their own or­ganic chicken and ac­tu­ally of­fer or­ganic eggs. The Tal­is­man restau­rant doesn't com­pro­mise on giv­ing the client a healthy yet mouth lick­ing food ex­pe­ri­ence.

A quick chat with the chef and you could clearly see that he truly loves cook­ing. As he speaks about food, his face lights up like a child's who has just got­ten his fa­vorite candy. You can tell that he cooks all his meals with lots of love and pas­sion. He changes the menu based on sea­son and avail­abil­ity of some in­gre­di­ents. He tries to keep the cre­ativ­ity flow­ing while also giv­ing the reg­u­lars what they have grown to love and con­stantly or­der.

The menu at the Tal­is­man restau­rant is bro­ken into six main cat­e­gories, first is the clas­sic fol­lowed by sea­sonal, sushi, break­fast, af­ter­noon menu and fi­nally dessert. The best part about the menu is that you can also check it out on­line and can there­fore see be­fore­hand what the restau­rant has to of­fer and it's prices even be­fore your visit. See­ing as it is a gas­tro lounge, it ob­vi­ously also serves the English pub-style fish and chips and a clas­sic Amer­i­can ham­burger with all the trim­mings. They also have a fully stocked bar with drinks from ev­ery part of the world. In ad­di­tion, they have a wine cel­lar with a va­ri­ety of wine from the best wine farms in South Africa. It has an ex­pan­sive cock­tail menu es­pe­cially for that per­fect night out with friends. Its unique­ness is in the fact that they serve up to 20 dif­fer­ent wines and cham­pagnes by the glass. It is a great place for the wine lovers. The bar has that per­fect au­then­tic and cool charm that makes you feel like you are in a scene from a James Bond movie.

They also have events on dif­fer­ent days and you are bond to meet great peo­ple who share the same taste or love for mu­sic and arts. The restau­rant has the per­fect mul­ti­far­i­ous and one of a kind en­chant­ing at­mos­phere for events which they host. The Tal­is­man an idyl­lic venue for events like wine tast­ing, in­ti­mate con­certs and birth­day par­ties, which it or­ga­nizes reg­u­larly and pro­vides the per­fect am­biance for a va­ri­ety of spe­cial oc­ca­sions, from cor­po­rate func­tions to wed­ding re­cep­tions.

I had the op­por­tu­nity to try out a few items from their menu and ev­ery­thing was ex­quis­ite! For a starter I had the feta and co­rian­der samosas served with chili gin­ger jam. It was cheesy and spicy due to the co­rian­der. This is a per­fect starter es­pe­cially for the veg­e­tar­i­ans. It is also great for the cheese lovers who like their cheese with a lit­tle kick of spice and pep­per.

I also had a chance to try out their lamb. The Maasai in me was in awe. The Maasai com­mu­nity is renowned as meat lovers. The lamb was wrapped up in pas­try and served with steamed veg­gies and it was ba­si­cally a meat and pas­try lover’s dream come true. The meat was fresh, suc­cu­lent and fell off the bone just per­fectly. It was ten­der, sa­vory and rich in fla­vors. I also liked that they serve it with fresh veg­eta­bles; peas, sliced car­rots and the creamy mashed pota­toes. The restau­rant also serves good por­tions and you don't overeat.

Fi­nally I had the blue berry ice cream dessert. It ac­tu­ally had fresh berries in it. It is the kind of dessert that just makes you for­get all the prob­lems in the world. It just makes you feel bet­ter and happy. It is just smooth, fruity and col­or­ful. I love the restau­rant’s food pre­sen­ta­tion. They set it in a way that show­cases all the in­gre­di­ents and has you sali­vat­ing even be­fore the waiter places your plate per­fectly on the ta­ble. Pre­sen­ta­tion is key and they killed it!

I also had a chance to so­cial­ize with one pa­tron who is a reg­u­lar at the restau­rant. He could not stop gush­ing about their chicken wings and burger. He ad­mit­ted to be­ing ad­dicted to the chicken wings say­ing they are one of the best he has ever had . I be­lieve the New York times cap­tioned it best “The best place in town and the most hap­pen­ing place to see the lo­cal scene. With its low couches and beau­ti­ful gar­dens, the only thing needed to com­plete the scene is a Tusker or Dawa in hand” – O’ Don­nell – The Spir­ited Trav­eler.

The tal­is­man restau­rant gives you world class qual­ity at a very af­ford­able and wor­thy price. It is a great place to visit any day any time by tourists and lo­cals alike. It is not just a restau­rant, it is Kenyan culi­nary pride. I would say it is the Usain Bolt of restau­rant here in Kenya, their culi­nary skills and ex­pe­ri­ence is top notch and they most cer­tainly have brought life to the Kenyan culi­nary scene.

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