There is little doubt that Tamarai Restaurant and Tea Bar Lounge is among the premier dining establishments to be found in Kampala.
Running a restaurant during these COVID-19 days is a challenge in more ways than one; mandatory social distancing, a foot peddle operated hand-washing area and a dedicated operator for hand sanitation and temperature check.
Also, clearly demarked markings on the floor for walkways, and most importantly, maintaining accepted social distancing among others.
As a result of new standard operating procedures(SOPs) in place, plus a curfew that kicks off at 9pm, the dining business is facing herculean and hitherto unknown challenges.
For many high end dining establishments, dinner contributes a major portion of revenue earnings which, in the short term, cannot be replaced. Considering that the SOPs once in place, become more or less a fixed cost, many restaurants are resorting to measures such as having a minimum number of staff on call (a variable cost). This can be a recipe for disaster as we have discovered dining in some fancy establishments.
We are glad to say that taking into account the new Corona virus safety measures that have been enacted which we are all too familiar with ad nauseam. Needless to say, adherence with any restaurant worth its salt has become de rigueur Tamarai scores top marks all round and they have taken to the new norm.
Tamarai brings out the best of Pan Asian cuisine and has been around since 2012. During those years they have mastered the art of fine cooking to a level rarely experienced in this town.
At the same time the powers that be besides offering a classical fusion of Thai food, they have also added Indonesian, Singaporean, Chinese and Far Eastern fare which brings a wonderful dining experience for those who are au fait with food from those parts of the world.
Of course I would be remiss in not mentioning the professional, genial and irrepressible general manager, Kaiwan who unobtrusively hovers in the background overseeing matters ranging from seeing that the orders from the kitchen come out in a timely manner.
He chats with diners to find out how they are enjoying their food and generally ensuring that things run smoothly. Kaiwan is a seasoned pro with years of experience and runs a tight ship. His is staff are courteous and knowledgeable making the whole dining experience memorable.
The Tamarai menu reads like a rare gem and one can always be assured of perfection in terms of delivery. From something as simple and unusual as the scrambled tofu tossed with garlic, onions, ginger, bell peppers and a smidgen of spices that are never over bearing, one will never be disappointed.
The Thai style crispy cocktail spring rolls are another example of getting it right. Spring rolls, all too often suffer from dreary pastry casing, let alone the contents.
Here the phyllo pastry is exquisitely done resulting in a light and crispy spring roll with a divine filling of matchstick cut carrots, sliced cabbage and thinly sliced onions plus spring onions and spices wrapped and gently fried until golden.
The main courses offer an array of mouth savouring treats ranging from the top of the range Peking Duck, a favourite iconic Chinese banquet entree which needs a 24-hour booking. It is slow roasted, crispy and consisting of tender slices and crispy skin wrapped in thin crepe, along with sliced spring onions, cucumbers, hoisin sauce or sweet bean sauce. This item will set you back Shs160,000 but can be shared within a group.
Ugandans love grilled meats and Tamarai’s rendition of this much loved muchomo grill is the grilled skewers of your favorite meat served with fresh pea nut sauce. They also offer sea food and lake fish and these are mainly cooked in the Thai tradition. Tamarai being a Thai restaurant specialises in offering the best of Thai food viz.
with soups such as tom yum, or the more classic Thai creamy soup with coconut milk, lemon grass, mushroom and galangal. Salads, curries and stir fries are readily available. All in all, the quality of the food and authenticity is alluring and for those lovers of this genre of spiced food from the Far East Tamarai Restaurant is just what the doctor ordered.