Flamingo a la Carte Restaurant

The Senegambia Hotel is an elegant beachside hotel in Kololi. After crossing the little wooden bridge into the main hotel entrance you are transported into a world full of tropical plants and trees. The gardens are home to not only palm trees and exotic flowers but also monkeys, mighty monitor lizards and the hotels daily special guests; the vultures, who are fed every morning by the hotel staff. As a result the hotel attracts those who wish to see African wildlife at close hand as well as those who wish to just relax on the beautiful beach.

The interior of the hotel is decorated in a style that echoes the external surroundings. Once through the doors, you find yourself in cooling woods and greens, with the occasional splash of colour from some traditional African wild animal prints.

As well as its regular guests the hotel also draws visitors to its fine restaurants. The Flamingo A la carte serves international cuisine to a high standard.

This is not a restaurant that relies on gimmicks. The decor is what you would expect anywhere in the world in a high standard, international hotel. Simple but elegant, the plain cream walls are dotted with prints and colour is brought into the room by the vibrant cerise tablecloths. Polished cane chairs and a deep green carpet echo the 'natural' theme of the rest of the hotel. Two eye-catching, gilded flamingos stand majestically in one corner by the small but cosy lounge area. These are smaller relatives of the two giant Flamingos outside the main entrance.

Priding itself on its standards, the Flamingo is always spotlessly clean, the tables are laid in silver service style and the service is geared to match.

Although this is a restaurant serving international cuisine, it pays to mention some of the local etiquettes and customs you may come across in your visit to the Gambia. The call to come into dinner is 'Key Len Nu Rear'. Remember this is a Muslim country so dress should be respectful when in public places away from the beaches and pools. Dining is no exception. Bare shoulders and shorts are not the way to dress for dinner in a Gambian restaurant. Cool, loose, clothing with legs and sleeves is a better option. The normal primal blessing is 'Bismillah' (an idiom for in 'the name of Allah'). Traditional Gambian families will, as do many Muslim cultures, only use the right hand for eating. This practice is not so strictly adhered to in a restaurant but you may see Gambians eating only with their right hand, even here. Not many Gambians eat out as the majority do not drink (it being against their religious beliefs) and prefer to entertain at home. It is considered the height of bad manners to smell food before eating it and it is an insult to not even attempt to eat your meal, even if you only manage a few mouthfuls, you will have conducted yourself with grace. If you do decide not to eat, it is considered rude to sit and watch others eating. You should move away from the table to another area. Praising the food is always good, but the constant chat accepted in other cultures is frowned upon here, also belching is seen as a sign of appreciations (quietly don't overdo it!) and is not frowned upon as it is in western cultures. After you have finished your meal it is customary to leave the table, even if others have not finished and wash your hands. Tipping is discretionary here as a ten percent service charge will already have been added to your bill. Bear in mind that not a lot of that percentage will make its way back to the person serving you, so a small tip will be well received.

Local specialties include;

The Flamingo is an international cuisine restaurant, so there is a wider choice on the menu than local specialities, such as pastas, meat dishes and fresh locally caught fish. Remember, no visit to a Gambian restaurant is complete without sampling at least one of the local dishes.


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