Fresh, Local & Exceptional: Sail’s Restaurant
The soft white sand beaches and warm waters of Kenya’s coast are motivation enough to add a beach extension to any safari itinerary. At Almarana Luxury Boutique Hotel & Villas they’re offering something extra; Sail’s Restaurant, one of the best restaurants on the Kenyan coast.
A third generation Kenyan, Executive Chef Anthony Huth, along with his talented team, combine the traditional Swahili spices of the Kenyan coast with fresh, local ingredients to create sensational dishes enjoyed overlooking the beautiful Galu beach of Kenya’s south coast.
Born and brought up in Nairobi, Anthony chose to refine his knife skills at culinary school in South Africa and has gained valuable experience working in renowned kitchens including The Talisman Restaurant in Nairobi and Jamie’s Italian in Manchester. On our recent visit to Almanara, we sat down with Anthony to learn about him, Sail’s and the sensational food:
- Tell us about one / some of your signature dishes at Almanara’s Sails Restaurant?
Tuna Carpaccio is not only an absolute best seller at Sails, it also happens to be my favourite starter. Fresh yellow fin tuna from the Indian Ocean, sliced very thin and arranged on a plate, topped with chili, ginger, coriander, soy sauce, sesame oil, black pepper and toasted sesame seeds… I really don’t think it gets better than that!
For the adventurous seafood lover, our menu offers an array of freshly caught seafood served with a garlic butter sauce. Imagine a platter of Lobster, King Prawns, Red Snapper, Crab Claws & Calamari all cooked to perfection on a hot grill, finished in the oven with a secret seafood marinade. That’s our Seafood Platter!
A signature lunch dish would be the Zanzibar Red Snapper. Crusted with a spicy Swahili cashew nut coating, topped with toasted sesame seeds, our grilled Red Snapper is then popped in the over. Served with toasted coconut shavings and a traditional coconut, tomato sauce, you won’t be able to resist.
- What are the main influences in your cooking?
The great teacher inspires and I have been lucky enough to have had four inspirational influences in my cooking career so far.
From the tender age of three, Christopher, our family cook, constantly found himself tripping over me and eventually gave in to my requests to help – I became his “Number One” potato peeler. Always patient and ready to teach, Christopher taught me the basics of cooking.
At 16 years old, having learnt the basics and progressed to Christopher’s Sous Chef, I found myself as an apprentice of Tim Challen, Executive Chef at the Turaco Club. Tim shared his wealth of experience, voiced his belief in my capabilities and gently guided me towards the realisation that I could actually be a professional chef. He taught me that I could cook.
My third influence would have to be my A-Level Food & Nutrition teacher, Jackie Guest. She instilled the importance of a healthy balanced diet. Thanks to Jackie, I learnt what I wanted to cook.
And my fourth influence would have to be Jamie Oliver. Young, dynamic and all about nutritious dishes, who wouldn’t feel inspired! “Real food doesn’t have ingredients, real food is ingredients”: my type of cooking.
- Sails restaurant is considered one of the leading restaurants on the Kenya coast according to Trip Advisor, what do you think makes it so special?
To be honest, I don’t think we couldn’t really ask for a better location! Diani’s Galu beach is an incredible expanse of soft white, powdery sand and the Indian Ocean is a pristine aqua blue. The restaurant’s unique architectural design not only gives Sails its name, it’s aesthetically pleasing: the perfect setting for any meal.
The scene is now set. All we need is the food, and this is where I feel that Sails sets itself apart: fresh produce and pride in presentation. Working with only the finest local ingredients and a talented team in the kitchen, we are able to create beautiful dishes that have been considered the best on the Kenyan coast.
- What do you think makes Kenya so special in terms of its cuisine?
For time immemorial, Kenya’s coast has played host to a myriad of travellers, merchants and traders. The traders brought herbs and spices; the merchants brought tea and coffee and, the travellers introduced alternative cooking styles. Kenya combined all these ingredients with multiple traditions and created a cuisine that still cannot be defined by a singular dish. All in all, Kenyan cuisine is always about making use of fresh, local ingredients.
For example, the aromatic, coconut infused Swahili dishes are inspired by Indian and Arabic spices, grown on the coast; while the popular starch, ugali is due to the successful growing of grains, cereals and sukuma wiki (a very similar vegetable to kale). The Highlands are dotted with ranches producing high quality Molo lamb and Laikipia beef, encouraging a diet seasoned with European influences.
Just as the cuisine has changed and been tweaked over time, so too has our role in the trading community. Kenya is now a trader rather than just a host: agricultural produce is now one of Kenya’s largest exports!
Sail’s Restaurant sits underneath palm trees below Almanara Luxury Boutique Hotel; where Chef Anthony Huth also plays an instrumental roll in menu development. A visit to Almanara is not only a retreat to one of the best beach destinations in East Africa but also to one of Kenya’s finest culinary destinations.