The much anticipated Serengeti Kitchen opened its doors in East Harlem this week, a welcome extension to the beloved Serengeti Tea & Spices which opened on Frederick Douglass Boulevard in West Harlem in 2013.
At the helm, is Dougha Caranda-Martin, with a passion for teas, coffees and herbs, from a childhood growing up in Liberia, walking through his grandmother’s farm garden, and learning the sights, smells and tastes of local herbs. Caranda-Martin immigrated to the United States in the early 1990s, during the First Liberian Civil War.
We were not surprised to learn that Canada-Martin is an artist by training, evident in the architectural design and woodwork at both of his shops. Serengeti Tea & Spices continues to focus on sourcing teas, coffee and herbs from east and West Africa.
The new Serengeti Kitchen will celebrate African flavors, with a revolving Coastal West African menu every few months, giving patrons a culinary experience of an entire continent. Today, we see Black Truffle Yuca Bisque and Braised Wild Board (sweet burnt onion, Kenyan black tea & apricot reduction) served with plum tomato braised rice ~ and those are just a few culinary delights on the menu. Also listed are suggested tea pairings. We expected no less.
Below are a few photo’s from our recent visit, as we wandered through the main entrance into the front dining area, and into the back garden/bar area. A total transformation from the previous inhabitant, Island Salad.
Entering the (now enclosed) garden area, with hand-painted concrete floor.
Bar in the back-garden area
Serengeti Kitchen is located at 22 East 125th Street, between Fifth Avenue and Madison Avenue. Serengeti Tea & Spices is located at 2292 Frederick Douglass Blvd, near West 123rd Street. Follow Serengeti Kitchen on Instagram or hashtag #SerengetiKitchen. (closed on Monday).