I love eating out and discovering new places, but this time I was on a budget. After doing some snooping around, I came across a place called Africa Tamarane. The tagline said “Discover Africa and its flavours without leaving Barcelona” – sounded pleasant enough, and to top it all off, they were running a 50% discount promotion. One question left, was it vegetarian friendly? Tripadvisor gave us the ok, so we decided to try it out.
As we walked through the door, the first impression was positive – the staff was friendly and the place was tastefully decorated. And best of all, they had fairy lights (anyone who knows me will tell you I’m a sucker for all things shinny)! We got there at something past 20:00, and since Barcelonians don’t eat until about 22:00, we got seated and attended relatively fast. So far so good!
After we got the menu, the waitress soon informed us that we had to order a starter, a main, and a dessert or a cocktail to get the 50% discount on our bill. Great, I though, I love to eat. But the excitement soon wore off when we saw the lack of vegan options on the menu. Chicken, red meat, fish, even dairy…you name it, it was there. I guess after seeing the place listed as vegetarian-friendly I expected more choices for vegans.
There was a total of two starters and two main dishes that we could eat, so we ordered one of each to share. That way we could still get our discount. To start, we got a papaya and red pepper salad, as well as some African bravas (aka potatoes cut into cubes). We double checked with our waitress to make sure all dishes were vegan friendly – “No egg or dairy?”, I asked. I repeated myself so many times at some point I was convinced I sounded a little deranged. What can I say, previous experiences thought me well…you can ask a dozen times if something is vegetarian and still receive a salad covered in tuna! Better safe than sorry.
After waiting for what seemed like a second, a different waiter brought the starters to the table. There it was – our greatest fear on a plate. Our bravas were covered in mayo! We ask the waiter if the mayo is vegan. He gives us a puzzled look, after which he adds “Todo verdura!”, meaning “all vegetables”. All vegetables? So then what was the white stuff on top (no pun intended)?! We tell him that we cannot eat egg and ask again how the mayo was made. “Todo verdura!” he repeats, after which he storms off to find the waitress who initially attended us. I did not like his reaction one bit and at that point I was starting to feel a bit irritated. Surely our waitress will come and apologize for a mistake that was clearly theirs….right? Wrong! She soon approached our table, picked up the plate of bravas, shot us an angry look and mumbled something like: “Bravas are usually served with mayo…”. And that was that. It’s truly bewildering how businesses in the hospitality industry can afford to be so ignorant about something as straightforward as veganism. If I hadn’t been so hungry, I would have probably left…
At that point I was convinced the night would be ruined, but they soon brought a new plate of potatoes and made good on their mistake. After that, things just got better and better. Despite the rocky start, the food was really tasty. Flavourful dishes, one more delicious than the next. The papaya salad in particular surprised me. I expected a green salad with some papaya and pepper slices, but instead got a dish full of papaya served with a mouthwatering bitter sweet dressing. Must I say more?
After finishing our starters, it didn’t take long for them to bring out the mains. I enjoyed both the vegetables with cous cous as well as the beans with rice, but if I had to recommend one of the two dishes, I would go for the African beans. This dish just ticked all the boxes for me – authentic, savoury and slightly spicy. I particularly enjoy food with strong flavours, so I loved the fact that they brought us a small pot of homemade hot sauce in case we wanted to spice things up (again, no pun intended). Two thumbs up!
The servings were generous so by the time we got to dessert, I already felt like I had eaten for two. I couldn’t have any more food, so I ordered a hibiscus and rum cocktail instead – it was good, but it didn’t blow me away.
Conclusion: Would recommend & go there again. I would just like to see more vegan options on the menu.