Our NRT event for November was at Palace International in Durham. It is an African restaurant focusing on East African dishes as it is co-owned by two Kenyans. The space is simple but nicely spruced up with the textured olive green walls with bright orange contrasts on the ceiling and the decor has African theme with paintings of giraffes and fronds. The tables and chairs reminded me of furniture that you would expect to see in your grandmothers dining room. The menu is interesting as it also includes a few dishes which are inspired by the East Indian population in this part of Africa. Our waitress was very helpful, explaining each of the dishes.
We started with the samosas which came with one meat samosa and one vegetable samosa. The fillings for both were tasty and the wrapping was nice and crispy. We had a group of six so we were able to try several dishes. G ordered the goat curry which was in a surprisingly mild curry with onion and tomato. The goat was nice and tender but didn’t exhibit the heat or typical spicy intensity of an Indian curry. However, once we moved past the initial surprise, the curry was delicious with a milder flavor reminiscent of a tikka masala sauce. It was served with the ugali which is similar to grits though a bit bland. At the table we also had an order of the tilapia which was topped with sautéed onions, lemon and cilantro. It was a very tasty and elegant dish. The Nairobian Beef was also nicely prepared tender sirloin tips which were sautéed in onions, tomatoes, cilantro and cayenne pepper.
The two highlights of the evening were the lamb special of the evening and the Kilimanjaro Beef Ribs. I ordered the lamb special of the day which was fantastic! It was pan seared lamb chops which had been marinated in a mixture of herbs which nicely penetrated the meat and served in a lovely herb sauce. The lamb was served with a delicious herb rice and a sautéed spinach. The beef ribs were also tasty! The beef was cooked in spices and glazed with a barbecue sauce which included honey for a nice sweetness. The dish was served with plantains and the spinach. The beef was falling of the bone and flavors were truly addictive. The portion of ribs was huge and could easily be shared.
Overall, the food was delicious and provided a nice opportunity to try flavors which we don’t typically come across. The service was friendly and warm though a bit slow.
The Palace International
1104 Broad Street
Durham, NC 27705