tamarai thai restaurant

Disclaimer: Nope, I am not being paid (or coerced) to talk about Tamarai.

Tamarai Thai Restaurant is undeniably one of my favourite places to eat out at in Kampala. So much so that every time the family wants to go somewhere fancier than Cafe Javas and we fail to agree on a new place to go to, then we’re definitely driving that car to No. 14 Terrace Rd in Lower Kololo. We once changed course on our way to this Turkish restaurant that was supposed to have opened in Bukoto but had no menu online in favour of something we knew. And I’ll tell you, no regrets here. At all.

My first time at Tamarai was in the summer of 2013 when my sister Nicole suggested it as a place for us to meet her best friend Maea who was visiting Uganda for the first time. My mother figured a night of evening tea and causal talk would do us well, so Nicole jumped at the idea of introducing this place that she’d been at the previous weekend for High Tea. Fancy kids, I tell ya.

We get to Tamarai at 7:30pm and didn’t leave till past midnight! You should have seen our expressions when we were walking back to the car only to notice that the parking lot we’d found full earlier was close to deserted! What took the tea so long, you’d ask?

Nothing. The service was exceptional, it just so happened that Tamarai turned out to be a Thai restaurant too. And the family decided, we had to eat everything on the menu. No, not everything, but close. See, the summer of 2013 was the summer after I graduated from high school in Bangkok, Thailand. I’d been living and studying in Thailand for 2 years and of course everyone thought it was a brilliant idea for me to order them authentic Thai dishes. So tea turned into dinner and dessert and many many other visits.

That night, we talked to the manager about the concept, and how happy we were that there was a new Thai restaurant in town. Turns out my sister had already talked to him too during the tea event. Suffice it to say, since that night, I have had at least one dish from each of the categories on the menu for Tamarai. I don’t remember anything I wouldn’t have again. Mentioning all my go-to dishes would take a while, so I made another post for it here: Take Me To Tamarai #2.

To end this, I’d like to list my top 3 reasons why I voted Tamarai as my Best Overall Restaurant of the Year, and Best Asian Restaurant in the 2015 Kampala Restaurant Awards.

  1. Cuisine – While there have been reviews on Tamarai where patrons complained about the authenticity of the Thai dishes and while I have been to another restaurant in Entebbe (Thammaphon Thai) that does pack more Thai to their meals, I think Tamarai’s authenticity is genuine. Protip: Talk to the waiters about how you want you food done including spiciness. They default to milder meals because that’s what the average Ugandan diner prefers, if you want it really Thai (or even not spiced up), just speak up! That Thai cuisine-trained chef should continue being put to good use.
  2. Variety: It’s not just a restaurant with good Thai meals. You can go over for just teas and juice or for their amazing Strawberry and Mango cocktails. Rumour has it that the shisha is really good too! (I don’t smoke so I can’t personally vouch for it, nor do I know if it’s still legal in Kampala hmm). On the meals front, they serve more than just Thai food. Check out the full MENU for more. Or my post on my top choices.
  3. Convenience: Tamarai is in Kololo. For me, that’s really easy to reach from Bugolobi or Bukoto/Ntinda where I spend most of my time while in Kampala. Even better is the fact that it’s my favourite restaurant on social media. I’ve DM’d them on Twitter many-a-time to talk about menus and deals and they’re always helpful and friendly and fast at it!

TAMARAI THAI RESTAURANT

Click here for the MENU.

www.tamaraithai.co.ug

No. 14 Terrace Rd

Lower Kololo, Kampala

+256 755 794 960/58

twitter.com/tamaraithai

facebook.com/TamaraiRestaurant

kampala restaurant awards

While I’m not one to eat out often or go hardcore on the whole “what constitutes courses in a meal” topic, I must admit that talking about food gladdens my soul. The whole shenanigans of comparing places and meals, and even more so – the eating till you can’t anymore.

I can’t even claim the title foodie because more than half the time, I don’t know what ingredients were used in the food: my tongue, or rather palette, is really not that advanced. Some days I wish it was, and then I comfort myself with the fact that one day, I’ll get there. And even if I don’t, I’ll still know what tastes I like and don’t like, no?

In the meantime, I’m one of those people that embrace and talk about ANY and ALL food-related events that happen in Kampala. Think Shell’s Tokosa Food Festival, Pearl Guide’s Kampala Restaurant Week and Kampala Cocktail Week. ALL. OF. THEM. My Ma, cousins and besties are used to me whatsapping them with posters for these things and I’m used to them texting me anxiously asking if I’ve been to a certain restaurant before and what I think of it. So, of course I’m going to talk about the Kampala Restaurant Awards.

Hellofood Uganda, in partnership with Done Deal, and MTN, announces the inaugural Kampala Restaurant Awards 2015. Shell Gas, Pepsi, Brussels Airlines and Robertson Winery are sponsoring the Awards and the ceremony will take place at Serena Hotel, Victoria Ball room on the 25th November 2015. Dress Code is black tie and ceremony kicks off at 6pm.

That’s their press release. It comes as no surprise to me that the same companies that do all the other events are sponsoring this, but that’s a conversation for another day. It’s a great initiative. As Anna points out in her blogpost about the awards, this comes at the right time:

” 

It is imperative that we have events like these.

It is necessary that restaurants know that the customer is king.

It is essential that someone appreciates those that go the extra mile to see a client ecstatic about the food experience.

kampala restaurant awards

Another thing I found equally imperative was that not only should I cast my vote, I should encourage my friends to do the same and talk about their dining experiences a bit more: the good and downright awful. So, as I cast my votes tonight (hopefully that party can’t rig these ones), I’ll take note of all my choices and hopefully over the week leading up to the Awards, try to write something up on each of them for the blog. Let’s call it my pet project for November. I hope it works out. And if I can, I’ll get people like Leticia who’ve been to the (very many) places I haven’t been to write about them too.

The dining experience in Kampala has improved past the days we only left the house to go to Shell Select, Nandos and Steers. Let’s embrace it!

kampala restaurant week kampala cocktail week

To the guy in my dreams
Whose memory draws nothing
But the curving of my lips
Thoughts of the feel of your touch
And the calm that it brought me.

To the stranger in my life,
Memory recalls nothing but sweet memories,
Thoughts all frozen in moments
Of sweet ecstasy and warm laughs
Like a summer in a trying time.

To the girl in my dreams
Whose voice lingers in my ears
The tingles that it brings
I can feel them still, drawn out
Like a silk touch that lasts forever.

To the lady of my life,
Whose sweetness flows through my veins,
Leaving a scent of candy
And a draconian soul
My soft tissue is in yearning.

I am almost giving up
On you, and at the speculation
Of us being happy together
On loving, and being loved in return
Will you let me inside, let me love you?

Giving up on you scares me to death,
Thoughts of leaving you terrify me,
I am chained to a pole in your life
Don’t give up just yet,
For I have let you inside, please love me.

Dear Shawn, thank you for the 7 days of unexpected play with words. Keep keeping on!

Better Check Out Shawn’s blog if you haven’t yet. In Bits Of Many Pieces.

It is a little over a month since
Hadn’t been there in a while
And yet there I was
On this cold shivery night
I was only there because
Home was emptier and chillier
The bodies on the dance floor
My! The DJ had the party going
Music pumped through my veins
The sea of bodies was swirling hot
Intoxicated or not
Everybody was on a high
Nobody was thinking
Or so I thought.

I hadn’t tasted anything this chilly,
Cold with a touch of peace rather malted barley.
Down my throat it slid, smoothly leaving a trail of crazy.
The dancefloor a warm place,
My head and hands propelled
To the right, to the left
In such unison.
Getting on a high was the mission
But nobody was thinking
And so it was.

What nobody ever tells you
Of such nights is the singles
Or seemingly single, I should say
These are the ones having the fun
Casting sly glances everywhere
Ostensibly looking for their next
What nobody ever tells you
Of such nights is the fights
Duels fought on the mezzanine
Bodies for dominance
Eyes for possession
Live brawls for…nothing.

Day 6 of UgBlogWeek, ever been voted “Most likely to start a bar fight”? Nah? #okbye
Better Check Out Shawn’s blog if you haven’t yet. In Bits Of Many Pieces

Dreams Destiny Fate
These all I believe
And Yet
Patience and Companions
I must in equal measure have
Lest my beliefs turn to nought

Love Karma Happiness
These All I Believe
But without
Tears and Persistence
Carried and Endured
My beliefs may nought harvest

Family Friendship God
These All I Believe
Still Though
Temptations and Doubt
I must always overcome
For there’s nought my dreams can’t conquer.

 

Dreams Destiny Fate
All I must believe
But reality a block,
A perfect suaveolent syzygy
So I believe in a blink
Lest I loose all that I dream of.

Love Karma Happiness
A combination of hope & traps
Or so did granny warn
With which, a kaleidoscope of butterflies I am.
Without which a surfeit of skunks
A combination treasured.

Family Friendship God
These all I believe
Departings & betrayal
I despise
Pretending to be fine
For there’s nought my dreams can’t conquer.

We tried something new, and we believe it worked out haha… The usual thanks to this guy >> Shawn,
In Bits Of Many Pieces #UgBlogWeek

Our cultures are on a low low

Bodies scroddled in different colours,

Tribes and cultures.

But we are now losing it,

We praise English yet we are forgetting

Our own languages.

We have sagging pants and tosticating tatoos

And we dress like Chris Adam models.

Hey, is the new greeting even with the elders,

We disregard the basics upon which our parents bore us,

We know nothing off our lineages, 

The heck we dont even know our cousins,

Do you see that your cousin might be 

the girl you are secretly dating?

 

Do you wonder at the reason behind

Your mama’s constant pushing

We know nothing of our history

The heck can you even draw our boundaries

Chill, is the new chastiser for every criticism

We don’t care for opinions if they’re not our own

We have “bipolar personalities” and “crazy exes” 

And we colour our hair every new month

We speak of vernacular as though

It’s not the language of our people

‘preciating multilingualism and globalisation

Yet we have nothing to show of our very own

Do you see that the cause you’re championing

Is only going to get you lost?

Shawn, as usual….OBUGALO!! Thank you for doing this with me! #UgBlogWeek

Clad in neither the knight’s armour,
Nor the lieutenant’s camouflage,
Armed not with a guerilla’s machete,
Nor the lawyer’s manner of elocution,
‘Fraid not of the opponent’s arsenal
Nor the fickleness of my allies’ promises
Committed to winning, not just this spat
Nor the inevitable battle, but the war ahead.

The battle line is harrowed,
With a heavy heart,
filled with a void of unmastered strength,
I move towards my point of success,
Popejoy marching like a knight
with a shrewdness of an ape,
Obumbrating the enemy in all angles,
And like a tokoloshe, afraid of losing.
In such an abstruse moment,
the heart is sure of winning.

Dressed for battle like a sloth of bears
Armed to the teeth ready to snare
Fuelled by rage, anger and pure brawn
Shouting battle cries, slogans
All just learned passed on by other men
Meaningless words to replace truth
What I would be saying could only
More trouble beget than we already have
Because, bless me, this battle is long overdue.

If you don’t know by now, this collaboration for #UgBlogWeek is happening with #Shawn. Thank him for the resilience, and pay his blog a visit too! [www.dkawalya44.wordpress.com]

3am and my soul obstinate
Jumps out of a nightmare,
With a tough raspy voice
And a dark shrewd face,
I called onto God.
Hope carried to gleaming heights
And then dropped to tatters,
Gruesomely attached to reality,
Salty waters flowed down my cheeks,
Mirred with betrayal and hatred.

5am and my heart beats a-flutter
Churning and twisted with stabbings
I’ve cried it all out
Yet still numbness does not come
I loathe that it’s my body, my spirit
That takes this beating
I’ve known people worse,
They surely were readier than I was
For this pain, it can’t have been for me.

The tears don’t seem to know hope,
Trenches of flow show on my face,
I should have been prepared,
For it wasn’t a nightmare I had
But reality flashing beams of lightning in my face,
Crude and uncouth reality is,
A perfect comfort zone marauded
And these tears shall not stop flowing

And my heart does not stop beating
A staccato drum inside my body
Playing the melody of a fighting spirit
Ailing is not a state I’ll be in for long
But will my physical self be strong enough?
Do I have the strength to hold me together?
My will is weak, my soul longing
This worldly pain could be nothing
To compare to the battle that
Goes on, and on, and on inside.

See this Shawn keeps praising the wrong people. Poetry knows no self-modesty. Mister, clap for yourself!

#UgBlogWeek

It’s all a game of waiting
With bated breath or anxious gulps
The constant remains; it’s lurking
And yet we know where it will arise
Like the inevitable eclipse,
It will come and we will know
Like a bright shadow, you’ll see it
The rising will be upon us
Like the wrath, the fury
Of an old dragon tickled in it’s sleep

It’s the least of our worries
In plain sight it hides,
Camouflaged by reality and dreams
It will sweep across like a crazy sea tide
We shall stumble and fall,
When the rising is upon us
With a strength that can’t be ignored.

With the calmness of inevitability
We’ll take it on, arms raised
Not in a fight, don’t get me wrong
We’ll let it pass, this rising tide
For it’s not ours to halt nor yours to steer
The rising is a retaliation long overdue
Like a lioness stung on a hot afternoon
You know you’re going to get it
It’s coming.
This freestyle and many more for #UgBlogWeek will be written by #nkima and #shawn. Thank you, Shawn, as always!

My days of carefree living and gaiety

Effortless actions and thoughtlessness

My days of randomness and spontaneity

Switching it up with acts of wantonness

When free-spirit meant creativity

And aloof didn’t equal to insensitivity

Here are my days of worrying and planning

Days for marrying and maybe ranting

Gone are my days of youth, I reckon.

#nkima