Alamir Restaurant Gambia
Kololi, near Senegambia Hotel
Kanifing Municipality, Ksmd
The Gambia, West Africa
Tel no: +220 446 3446 (reservations)
Your arrival at the front door of the rotunda which
is Al Amir
is observed by a gilded mermaid and a cheeky dolphin
of similar hue, who peer provocatively from behind Doric
columns which herald the splendid daring of the bold
interior. The sheer white ceiling ascends to a point
supported by a rough cast central pillar down which
cascades a waterfall, and round which is arranged a
circular buffet table.
The crescent shaped bar is formed by imitation wine
barrels, the walls are decorated with framed colour
photographs of scenes of Lebanon and the whole is lit
by crystal style lamps. The drapes are predominantly
a deep shade of red and tied with silvery cord. The
wall is punctuated by a conglomeration of gilt chains
and plastic ivy.
In imitation this would be kitch, but Al Amir is a glorious
Your host is Chef Ali, ably assisted by his most attractive
wife and several members of the family.
The welcome is BIG! You will be greeted graciously,
served willingly, fed adequately, and never rushed.
It will be impossible to cause inconvenience by your
demands or your questions. A party of two will be treated
with the same egality as a party of twenty two.
The spacious tables and the comfortably upholstered
chairs can be moved ad hoc.
It is an oft expounded fallacy that Lebanese food is
boring. It is not. Certainly some Arabic countries produce
dishes with hotter spices and with more sauce. But the
food is well cooked, beautifully presented and incredibly
nutritious. And so the experience of a visit to Al Amir
will always ultimately represent good value for money
Start with some humous, (chic-pea dip) and a few pieces
of pitta bread. Chef Aliís humous glistens with virgin
olive oil, is flavoured with a hint of garlic and is
embellished with parsley.
If you are a stranger to the nutty flavour and unique
texture of this dish, do not rely on your first impression.
There is a delightful after-taste which suddenly urges
you to crave more.
And the quaffing of a Lebanese red wine, Les Breteches
du Chateau Kefraya will enhance the dips, and any other
course which follows.
Take your time with the steak or the chicken kebabs.
Accompany them with chopped salad with croutons. Leave
space for the prawns with cous or rice and do not forget
to try the chicken breast, roasted with just a hint
of garlic and a squeeze of lime.
Very easy to replicate at home. "Taste this"
you can say to guests, "It is a chicken dish I
learned last week." And nobody can argue with you!
I remarked that Lebanese cuisine can tend towards a
simple wholesomeness, and salubrious, moustachioed Chef
Aliís buffet is supportive of that concept.
But do try.
It is a safe and reliable introduction to a broader
spectrum of stylish and interesting food available in
In the breathing space between courses ask a member
of staff to bring you the a la carte menu for your perusal.
Read carefully. Ask questions. And when it is revealed
to you just how much further Chef Ali can accompany
you into his dream I will guarantee that you will start
planning your next visit to one of The Gambia's finest
Food writer: Harmattan
Senegambia Strip area