Whatever ... 2011 ... this must be # nine


 Coastweek   Kenya

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Coastweek -- One of my favourites: Jumba Ruins 'Monsoon' is a unique Italian Seafood Restaurant right by the beach, inside the National Museum of Kenyaís Jumba Ruins precincts, in Mtwapa, some fifteen kilometers North of Mombasa.


Little Chef and Big Little Chef

My first memories of Kenya involve Italian
restaurants and Iíve made a pact with myself
not to eat Italian out until Iím back in mtwapa


Coastweek -- Being Kenya, many of the eat-outeries are Italian, obviously.

My first memories of Kenya involve Italian restaurants and Iíve made a pact with myself not to eat Italian out until Iím back from London.

It wouldnít be right.

Kenya and England share a national dish: curry.

When the English eat out, its curry all the way, and two out of every three eat out meals is a curry.

England has some of the best curry houses in the world but, in my experience, Kenya easily matches, and even beats, England.

The Indian restaurants Iíve been to in Mombasa have been fantastic.

We share another foodie bond Ė the institution that is Little Chef.

In Kenya we have Little Chef and Big Little Chef, both in in Mtwapa.

In Britain there are 162 Little Chefs, and theyíre based in motorway service stations.

In my mind motorway service stations are like embassies, a magical no-mans land where the normal rules of the country donít apply.

With their identikit layouts they exist in self-contained bubbles, and at the heart of these bubbles is Little Chef.

Everyone in Britain hates Little Chef except for me and Heston Blumenthal.

People look down on the chain Ė they think itís cheap, has rubbishy food and is out of date.

I see it differently.

I grew up in a family that didnít drive, so I rarely got to go to motorway service stations and Little Chef.

As a result, for me, those breaded mushrooms and paper place mats in red gingham are utterly exotic.

Heston Blumenthal is a three Michelin-starred chef famous for cooking with Bunsen Burners and test tubes.

Itís known as molecular gastronomy and is all the rage.

New dishes heís invented include snail porridge, bacon-and-egg ice cream and chips made with hay.

Little Chef asked Heston to give them a make over, but in the end they decided he was too fancy for them, and they went back to the good old ways of the breaded mushrooms and the paper place mats.

I pray that Heston doesnít have his eye on Little Chef Mtwapa Ė that cabbage and that chicken donít need changing at all.

Iím looking forward to going to Little Chef when Iím back.

And maybe dancing at Big Little Chef.


Coastweek -- One of several very large and very old - some say three or even four hundred year old - baobab trees lining the garden walk to the Italian Monsoon Restaurant on the beach at the Jumba Ruins, Mtwapa. [MUCH MORE ON THIS DELIGHTFUL EATERY IN A FUTURE BLOG]


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