“The Baobob stands proud and strong, she serves her people as midwife, it’s been thus generations long, she’s Africa’s great tree of life”
Senegal, the country of “Teranga” meaning hospitality. The Senegalese people are know for welcoming guests into their home and treating each visit as an occasion to cook and serve the best food. This is something we learnt on our impromptu visit to Brighton’s fantastic Le Baobob Cuisine when we stumbled across last week.
Le Baobab Cuisine is the first Senegalese restaurant in Brighton were you can taste traditional and contemporary gourmet cuisine from Senegal, prepared on site from fresh ingredients from Chef Abdoulaye Gaye
Having been caught out, getting soaked through to the skin, late on wet and miserable evening, we were entranced by the warm and inviting glow emanating from windows of the beautiful little space occupied by Le Boabob Cuisine. Having passed by a number of establishments that were either closed, or lacking in custom. Not the case with Le Baobob however. This rustic cosy restaurant was buzzing and full of happy content diners conversing over some quite delicious looking plates of food.
Entering Le Baobob, I should imagine is like taking a step into Senegal itself. The Homely space has a laid-back chilled vibe about it. Littered with gorgeous traditional artefacts and paintings, and stunning African cloth’s draped over the bar. We warmly welcomed and shown to a a seat under a a huge beautiful picture of the Baobob tree that takes centre stage with a commanding presence over the room.
The Menu boasts an array of starters and mains divided into vegetarian, fish and meat options, with a tempting dessert selection. Classic and bespoke tropical cocktails and carefully selected wines and beers fill the drinks menu. As Senegal borders the Atlantic ocean fish plays a key part in many of the dishes, with chicken, lamb, and beef also starring in dishes alongside fresh vegetables, sweet potatoes and yams.
As it is late in the evening we jump straight into the mains of Sea Bass Braise and Senegalese Chicken Curry. Both plates of food look and smell divine as they arrive. The quite frankly gigantic Sea-Bream almost fills the entire plate, yet a generous amount of chunky seasoned veg such baby aubergine, yams, and carrots fill the gaps. One might imagine it being served such a way on a sun-baked Senegalese beach front establishment. The flavours are incredible. The fish tastes fresh, with the full sweetness of the meat allowed to shine by the herby marinade. The vegetables are cooked and seasoned to perfection. Chef Abdoulaye obviously treats them with the same amount of importance as the main attraction. The Senegalese Chicken Curry is equally as impressive, tender juicy chicken legs and thighs and chunky mixed veg and potato a drenched in a rich, perfectly piquant sweet curry sauce that really hits all the right notes. The accompanying side of rice has a nice flavour in itself and adds even more delicious flavours to this beautifully cooked dish.
Before we leave Abdoulaye comes out and checks we are happy with are food and we offer the praise that is well and truly deserved. When we asked what his secret is he tells us he has a passion for simple home-cooked food done well and does not like to use too many spices as it changes the flavour. We promise to return, earlier next time, to try some more of his incredible cooking and stick around for some cocktails.
The warmth and hospitality shown by Abdoulaye and the team at Le Baobob Cuisine, not to mention the delicious hearty home-cooked food has left us hankering for more. It is the type of place that makes you want to go twice a week and I am sure each time we will be greeted with the same welcoming spirit and delicious plates of food.
Le Baobob Cuisine
8 Trafalgar Street, North Lanes, Brighton BN1 4EQ
Info & Bookings: 07530 338456 / 07761 645804 – firstname.lastname@example.org