Dim lights, brick walls and jazz music welcomed us into Flame Tree Restaurant at Sarova Panafric on a busy Friday evening. After battling with traffic for an hour, the ambiance encouraged us to relax and unwind after a long week. Flame Tree features a rustic eighties vibe reminiscent of old black and white films.
As I looked around waiting for my colleagues to get settled and finish Snapchatting and posting to Instagram, I could visualize how Flame Tree was the perfect setting for freedom fighters and government spies during the independence era as their website states. I pictured Mzee Jomo Kenyatta meeting with fellow leaders of the MauMau scheming and plotting ways to overthrow the British government.
Flame Tree restaurant also has a romantic ambiance perfect for date night and the familiar tunes ranging from classics to recent hits played by the live band added to the special experience. Flame Tree is the place to go when you want to forget all your troubles and life’s pressures.
The menu was revamped one year ago to incorporate interesting twists with a healthy advantage. We sipped on tasty cocktails as we waited for our meals to arrive. They included; Strawberry Collins, Apple Daiquiri, Second Coming (made with coffee and kahlua) among others.
We sampled various menu items selected by Chef Simon. Our starters included roasted tomato and sweet basil soup, Vietnamese spring rolls and calamari ceviche. The soup was thick and rich in flavour and we loved the fresh and crunchy calamari which came with homemade garlic and chive mayonnaise.
The arrival of the mains interrupted our chat about the pleasant starters we had just tried. Eyes brightened with joy and excitement upon seeing the generous portions on all the different dishes. We had the chilli garlic giant prawns with roasted cherry tomato dressing, murg makhini: a tender boneless chicken cooked in a rich butter sauce, lamb biryani served with raita and tomato mango salsa, lamb shank with cauliflower wilted spinach and grainy mustard mash and Limuru pork chops with roasted cumin and pepper.
The pork chops were served with plump fried plantains which when eaten together resulted to a succulent flavourful dish. The lamb was so tender, one soft touch with a fork was all that was needed to tear it from the bone. I honestly did not see the need for a steak knife. The lamb retained its original flavour as it was seasoned simply with salt revealing the chef’s remarkable talent.
Nothing crowns a wonderful evening like an equally delicious dessert and Flame Tree’s dessert options did not disappoint. We had the baked white chocolate cheesecake, chocolate fudge cake and vanilla ice cream. The chocolate fudge cake, which was the favourite dessert of the table was soft and moist, giving us a delicious send off into the weekend.
Conveniently located along Valley road, a few minutes from Nairobi’s CBD, the traditional feel, contemporary menu and ambiance unique to Flame Tree make the restaurant worth visiting.
Images: Tatiana Karanja