Susan Wong steps into the newly relocated Tandoori Patio and discovers that if Indian comfort food is what you are looking for, then this is a place where you can’t go wrong
In primary school, I celebrated Valentine’s Day by delivering carefully handmade cards to my classmates. During high school, it was the dreaded day of a school dance. In university, it was a fantastic opportunity to capitalise on some excellent restaurant two-for-one deals. Finally, as an adult, Valentine’s Day to me was just another day to celebrate the marketability of love. Valentine’s can certainly mean different things to everyone; and just like that Day, “comfort food” can also have different interpretations.
We’ve all heard of the term “comfort food.” We have craved it, dreamed of its aromas in anticipation, had our emotions stirred and palates whetted, warmed by it on a chilly evening, had sentimental feelings stirred, and finally, our appetites satiated by it. When I think of comfort food, Indian cuisine often comes to mind.
Whether it’s the spice, slow-cook techniques, searing heat, rich gravies, or even eating with your hands; Indian cuisine certainly gets you going. Indian cuisine is intense, raw and unbelievably honest. If you like food that moves you, shakes you from within, then the newly relocated Tandoori Patio in Nairobi will hit the spot.
To begin, a plate of stacked deep-fried battered okra, Rajasthani Bhindi, arrived light and crispy. Each piece of okra was surrounded by a light-as-air crispy batter that was tempura-esque. Spiced and aromatic, the batter carried a reddish orange tint. The Tandoori Lamb Chops were politely trimmed-down, with just enough fat to add flavour, marinated and then cooked in fierce heat. The chops were deeply spiced, aromatic, and expertly seasoned without being greasy. They arrived neatly organized on a round plate atop a bed of raw onions and carrots, and garnished with a sprinkling of fresh coriander. The most intriguing starter was our Palak Cheese Patties, which looked like green falafels. The disc-shaped patties were deep-fried and featured spinach with homemade mozzarella that oozed when pierced. At first you’re a bit unsure about the patties like when you’re getting to know someone new on a date. But a couple of bites in, you realize this not only has potential, but that you’re actually enjoying it! Then there were the plump Indian Ocean Prawns marinated in masala before being finished in the tandoor. Tender, spicy, smoky, juicy and just enough char on the heads to get them crispy – be ready to fight for the last one. The naans were also worth romanticizing. I’ve daydreamed on several occasions just before lunch about their garlic naans: Soft, garlicky, crispy exterior, fluffy center, and a distinctive charred flavour.
This Westlands neighbourhood favourite since 2015 has recently relocated up the street to the corner of Brookside Drive and Lower Kabete into The Pavilion’s second floor. A relaxing water feature welcomes you to the new expansive space, which comes complete with a balcony and large patio enough for 150 diners. The ambiance is contemporary rustic with exposed wooden beams framing the main dining space, and a neutral warm colour palette soothes the eyes. The staff were sweet, welcoming and knowledgeable.
The food here is pure, unabashedly bold, and comforting. If you’re in search of some comfort food, Tandoori Patio is the kind of place where you’ll discover what that actually means to you. It’s a place where someone who’s been many times before can find a new crush on the menu to fall head over heels for.