Food is a big deal on Mnemba Island, and the whole day basically revolves around your next meal…which I obviously loved.
Every morning you wake up to THAT view…
Your butler will open up the blinds of the beautiful beach front banda and prepare coffee and whale shaped biscuits for you to begin your morning…either sitting on your porch…
Or with your feet in the sand…there’s no hurry – everything is flexible here – but as soon as you’re ready you can head over to the main lodge for breakfast.
Every seat in the lodge’s restaurant has this beautiful view of the pristine white sands and turquoise seas.
Every morning the butler brings along a tray of home made produce, museli, a bakery basket and home made jams and preserves. There’s even a different fresh juice every day.
There’s always mountain of fresh fruit, which is exactly how I like to start my day on holiday. And as well as this there’s a cooked breakfast which changes daily.
Sometimes it’s waffles, sometimes pancakes or maybe an omelette. But if you want yesterday’s special that’s fine too. Breakfast is also the time when Chef Ash comes to chat to you about the menu for the rest of day. Having worked in some of the most luxurious hotels in Africa (including one of my all time favourites, Singita Lebombo) Ash is well versed both in fantastic cuisine and excellent hospitality. All well as a talented chef, he’s highly personable and we really enjoyed our morning chats with him.
The menu is just a suggestion and Ash is really flexible about incorporating likes, dislikes, allergies or preparing special meals for children.
After a morning spent snorkelling or just relaxing in our banda, we were welcomed back for lunch at anytime we wanted and the table was always already prepared for us.
With only twenty guests in the lodge it’s easy to keep service personal and each guest will already have a table stacked with fresh tomatoes, oil, vinegar and chillies.
Our butler always knew which wine or beer that we preferred and a generous glass was poured as soon as we sat down. Every lunch and dinner there’s a different fresh bread and we used the condiments on the table to prepare our own traditional Zanzibari spicy dip made up of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, chilli and lime.
A three course meal, may not be exactly what you want when staying in a hot country, there’s nothing worse than that heavy feeling after lunch. So Ash is careful to keep everything light, starters were dishes like this butternut squash and walnut salad.
Beetroot with goat’s cheese and pine nuts..
A refreshing gazpacho soup.
Or a beautifully presented leek and parmesan plate.
Being on an island with such abundant marine life, Ash’s speciality is seafood and every morning fisherman deliver fresh fish to Mnemba Island Lodge. We enjoyed a Niscoise salad made with local kingfish.
On a day when I didn’t want a heavy lunch of fish in batter as was planned, he made me a delicious grilled fish instead. Everything here is served family style so I could still tuck into Mr S’s fish and chips whilst pretending to be healthy.
My absolute favourite lunch dish were these Moroccan influenced wraps stuffed with fish, vegetables and salad. As you can imagine I was in foodie heaven with all this seafood and it was easily the best food that we had on our whole trip.
Ash kept dessert light at lunch times too and it was usually a delicious home-made fruit sorbet, the perfect touch of sweetness to end our meal.
After lunch we’d head back to our banda with a glass of wine in hand…
Mr S in his office…
And me in mine…
Ash serves a daily afternoon tea in the main lodge but Mr S and I chose sleepy afternoons relaxing instead. But around 6pm was our favourite time of day.
Every evening our butler, Rajab, would take our table from the baraza to beach and bring us our favourite cocktails and a plate of sushi made by Ash.
Honestly there was literally nothing better than enjoying that sunset with a cocktail of fresh raspberries and prosecco for me and fresh passionfruit for Mr S.
One night Ash made us an even bigger platter and added some hand-made fresh-cut chips.
If I could go back to a single moment of this holiday it would be those balmy evenings enjoying sundowners on the beach.
Dinner was always special and Mr S and I loved that they were in a different spot on the island every night. On our first night we sat on the beach outside the restaurant but every other night it was a private spot for just the two of us. One night deep in a forest glen…
Another night in a beautiful clearing with hanging lanterns and candles on the floor.
And of course, there was never any need to dress for dinner, and we never once wore shoes! Though a lover of high heels it actually felt so liberating just to go for dinner barefoot and wearing a simple light beach dress. And if you’re wondering where all my kaftans and cover ups come from, it’s Heidi Klein (disclosure: this one was gifted but the rest I bought myself), my favourite swim wear.
Our favourite setting for dinner was a table set up right outside our room with a view of the ocean and glittering lamps to light our way.
With the setting being so dark at dinner it’s difficult to show you pictures but starters we usually cured fish, ceviches or salads.
And main course was a more hearty seafood dish like a lobster risotto or prawn curry. Our favourite dish from the duration of our stay was a fresh pasta seafood dish which was just cooked to perfection. On our last night the staff all sang Hakuna Matata and presented us with the most delicious chocolate mousse cake.
But desserts were always a treat with carefully made pavlovas, tarts and ice cream.
I seriously could not fault the food at Mnemba Island in terms of fresh ingredients and beautifully made dishes it’s world class. But paired with high levels of hospitality and very personalised service, it really is second to none.
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