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Food & Drinks

Swahili Food Joints Get Fancy Upgrades

Swahili cuisine restaurant
Swahili cuisine restaurant, Camels Joint that has opened its third outlet at Haile Selassie Avenue in Mombasa. PHOTO | WACHIRA MWANGI | NMG 

One of Mombasa’s most-frequented restaurants, also known for its Swahili cuisine, has opened a third outlet. The new Camel’s Joint is fancier with wall paintings by portrait artist Zuber Bakhrani, unlike the two restaurants in Bondeni and Kilifi corner.

The director, Suheil Hasean, says today’s diners want a space where the family-run businesses can share their experiences; so they had to consider interior design, ambience as well as good food.

“So far it has cost us Sh12 million and we are not yet done. We studied the market and realised that people want to be in a comfortable place. They want order and elegance. Also some entertainment as they are waiting for the food,” says Suheil.

His father, Hassan Al Amoody, who is the founder of the restaurants, helped in designing the interior and exterior space.

“We did the decor together with my father and also had an interior designer,” says Suheil.

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Their father started Camel’s Joint as a fruit parlour.

“It was started in 1995. My father started with a bucket and 12 glasses on the table. He used to work in the market. He saw there was an opportunity to sell juice and fruit salad. Then it slowly grew to the restaurant business it is now,” says Suheil.

Their menu, which does not include alcohol, offers Swahili-style barbecues, biryani, Shawarma and fish. They also prepare ‘scud’, a drink made of mixed fruit and ice-cream.

The VVIP Scud

The VVIP Scud, a blend of fruits mixed with icecream that can only be found at Camels Joint, Mombasa. PHOTO | WACHIRA MWANGI | NMG

Felix Omuga, the head chef with over 18 years in professional kitchens, said the menu is growing to accommodate more than Swahili cuisine.

“We have introduced beef burgers, sandwiches and pastas dishes, with plans to serve seafood,” says the chef.

Meanwhile, Sarova Whitesands Beach Resort has refurbished its Lido Lounge that serves from tapas, sushi, sashimi, calamari fritters, chicken pops, nigiri, among others.

“Our best-seller is the celebration platter with lobster, crabs, oysters, prawns, shrimp and more. The King Prawn Tanjung is also popular at Lido and goes well with couscous,” says Chef Andrew Okello, senior sous chef at the hotel.

There is also the option of ordering burgers, sandwiches, pulled pork with wasabi mashed potatoes, calamari and pasta dishes.

“The chicken deluxe burger features crispy Cajun chicken where we use crushed cornflakes to add the crispiness to the chicken. The homemade bread and pickled onions add a unique flavour to the burger,” Chef Andrew adds.

Andrew has been a chef for seven years now and has previously worked in Johannesburg, South Africa.

The steak sandwich, which is homemade bread, aged steak, caramelised onions cheese, creamed mushrooms, accompanied with French fries and salad, is a perfect treat as one watches the ocean tides.

As evening approaches, the tune of a saxophone fills the air as the resident saxophonist takes to the stage.

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