I was joined by Patrick, who most recently quested to Morningside’s Clay Oven, just the other day.The premises are much the same as before in terms of size and shape, but the feel and decor is completely different, with plentiful African detailing and a lively soundtrack of Kenyan music.
There are a number of different menus from which to choose, with a pre-theatre selection, a midweek set menu, weekend buffet menu and full a la carte. We chose from the latter with meaty starters of beef skewers and Kenyan beef soup to start, then a goat curry for Patrick and a zebra steak for me. I added a Tusker beer, a drink I hadn’t seen for many a year.
Our friendly waitress was soon delivering my soup, which looked much as expected. It proved to be a deeply flavourful beef consomme with chunks of tender meat in the depths. It was warmly spiced and wonderfully satisfying. Patrick was similarly pleased with his beef skewers. The accompanying rolls were of the rather ordinary, mass-produced variety, which was the only touch of disappointment.
The main courses had highs and lows. There was no real need for the broccoli, cauliflower and carrots on my plate and the sauce was a little too strong on the popular yeast extract to give it rich, sticky depth. However, the two generous pieces of zebra steak were packed with flavour.For me, they were overcooked, but given this was my first time trying zebra I’d said to our attentive waitress that I was happy to go with how the chef thought it should be cooked. Next time, I’d be happier with lighter cooking, but you live and learn.
Patrick’s goat was really tender, but the curry sauce wasn’t all it could have been. The accompanying set of sauces contained an absolutely terrifying chilli sauce which we were warned about but couldn’t resist trying. It was about the spiciest thing I’ve ever had in my mouth, but was momentarily very pleasing before it completely numbed my face.
So overall, the Jambo Grill was slightly mixed, but is definitely worthy of your attention. When it was good, with the soup, skewers, goat and zebra meat, it was very, very good. There were some faults, though, but hopefully they’ll be ironed out in time. I’d recommend a visit as the core elements are very good and it’s a place that’s full of charm.
Blythe scores the Jambo Grill
4/5 for good
3.5/5 for presentation
3.5/5 for setting
3.5/5 for service
giving an overall 14.5/20
Today’s questers were: Patrick, Blythe
We ate: beek skewers, beef soup, goat curry, zebra steak
We drank: diet cola, Tusker beer, red wine, Kenyan tea, espresso
We wore: shirt, brogue boots
Total bill: £57.40