Nairobi Restaurant Week 2017: Talisman, Karen
This year started with some healthy eating resolutions quickly followed by throwing them out the window and diving head first in Nairobi Restaurant Week. This gastronomic 7 day event sees some of Nairobi's best and newest restaurants hit the scene by offering economical and delicious 2-course lunches (950kes) and 3-course dinners (1950kes with cocktail).
Call me old fashioned but when we saw Talisman on the list, one of Nairobi's best restaurants nestled in the leafy luscious suburb of Karen , we made a beeline for the Lunch time special on Sunday. The restaurant is a stalwart of the culinary scene in the capital and offers a sumptuous menu including perfectly seasoned thai, indian, french and fresh Mombasa seafood all topped of with their heavenly world famous Feta Coriander Samosas. If you have been, you will know.
We called ahead as it gets extremely busy on weekends and were greeted with delight that they had a table for 4 at 3pm on a Sunday. On arrival we were quickly moved to an outside table (after mild pleading with the waitress) as the January weather is too good to be sitting inside, and nestled into our shady patio table surrounded by tropical trees with menus in hand.
For starters we fought hard as a group over which to have, what we could bear to share and what we secretly wanted to scoff for ourselves. The infamous Feta Samosas were quickly ordered, followed by additional plate (in case of emergency) followed by a portion of the special Pork Samosas and a Sushi Dragon Roll. Everything was good - the Feta Samosas perfectly fried and expertly seasoned with a side of sweet relish and limes, the Pork samosas were less exciting and therefore the cheese auxiliary fetas were deployed. The Dragon Roll was perfect wrapped and presented with Sesame sauce fanned across the side. The tuna however was a little dry as it looked like it had been prepped at the beginning of lunch service. We fought hard to not raise hands for more perfectly formed cheese triangles...
The main course was a difficult choice between a Singapore Snapper, Thai Chicken Curry, Lamb Shoulder Kebabs and Vegetarian Tagine Eggplant. We slung out the snapper and between the 4 of us sampled the thai, turkish and tagine all living up to expectation. Despite the usual suspect of rice, the curry with an exciting accompaniment of Som Tum Salad (shredded root vegetables), Coconut Sambal and Nam Prik chilli spice. Everything was perfectly spiced, the coconut curry beautiful simmered and scattered with coriander and crunchy sweet peas causing both bowls to mysteriously evaporate. The Lamb Kebab came with a very small Bao Bun (we were quickly assisted with another one) as well as Julienne Vegetables and extra chilli - a good hearty plate but could have been added with a raita or tzatziki side. Our other companion had the Tagine Eggplant which contained a mountain of steaming hot vegetables, expertly cooked so that the aubergines perfectly scooped out and onto the waiting Hummus, Chutney and Yoghurt. I think the side of Pita Bread was just for show...
Rain started to pitter patter above us on the large lilypad snapped leaves which only made the ambience more peaceful as our friend tucked into her Guinness Cake with Bailey's Sauce and Vanilla Ice Cream. We were all so full and slightly swimmy from the fantastic Dawa's and cold bottles of Savannah that we didn't notice until some minutes, that her plate was entirely empty. I can only go by her review that it was 'what? Oh you wanted some? Sorry, it was just...to good'.
Hands firmly on tummies and then into our wallets, we walked away with a tiny bill of 8,000KES between 4 of us (including a couple of drinks each and several bottles of sparkling water) we felt delighted both gastronomically and financially. Talisman once again delighted at #NRW2017 and having recently held on to its covered position of #1 on Tripadvisor it is all but too easy to see why, now give us the secret to those Feta Coriander Samosas!
To book your table at Talisman, call: 0705 999997 or email at reservations@
Address: The Talisman Restaurant, 320 Ngong Road, Karen, Nairobi