Contact Address Details:
near Senegambia Hotel
Kanifing Municipality, Ksmd
The Gambia, West Africa
Tel no: +220 446 3446 (reservations)
Senegambia Strip area
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 original!
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
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 in
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
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 Kololi.
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