I had an amazing time at Distant Relatives Ecolodge and Backpackers in Kilifi, where executive chef Dennis Mullo invited me to his kitchen to show me how he prepares the delicious meals at the restaurant.
Dennis’ passion for cooking began when he was young, and he loved to watch his mother make sumptuous meals. Being the only boy in a family of four girls, he didn’t feel shy to learn the craft, and also tell people later in life that he did this for a living. He worked at Diani Reef Beach Resort for 12 years before becoming the head chef at the Ecolodge.
He hates being made to wait for a meal at a restaurant, and advises upcoming chefs to be passionate about their craft, be their own competition and also work towards becoming better every day.
He always strives to see each guest’s preference catered for, from grilled prawns, to crabs, to kalamari and even garden grown salads, but just in case your taste buds desire something different, there is a beef, chicken and lamb option in the restaurant’s large à la carte menu.
If enjoying coastal food to the background tunes of a local band sounds like a great plot, then you should consider this spot the next time you’re these sides of the Sahara.
Chef Mullo shows me how to prepare the restaurant’s signature dish; pan-seared beef fillet with red wine mushroom sauce, which upon tasting, I would highly recommend. It ascended to the status of signature dish after everyone kept on ordering it. It was interesting watching the executive chef prepare the delicacy from scratch, and I had to get the recipe to try at home.
Well-simmered beef fillet 280gm
Cooking oil ¼ cup
Garlic bulb 3 psc
Mushroom buttons 4 psc
Cooking cream ¼ cup
Red wine ½ cup
Pinch of salt, crushed black pepper and rosemary
Light soy sauce
Make a marinade of soy sauce, garlic, oil and crushed black pepper and marinate the beef fillet.
Put some cooking oil on a hot pan.
Pan-sear the fillet to your liking, either well done or medium done.
Dice the onion, garlic and mushroom and fry till golden brown.
Add the red wine and rosemary and simmer briefly.
Pour in the cooking cream.
Season to state and plate the sauce with the fillet.
It can be served with either steamed rice or mashed potatoes.