The town of Kenmare in South Kerry has more than it's fair share of good restaurants and cafes, much to the delight of locals and visitors alike. But you can't get enough of a good thing, as they say, so when another new eatery opened this summer with the unusual name of BOKA, it merited checking out. To say it is interesting is an understatement, with a Carribean back story that came via Macroom and Holland eventually to Kenmare, this is a family business whose offerings are a lot more exciting than the usual "toasted special and chips".
Brightly coloured eye-catching decor both inside and out are complimented with really welcoming and comforting seating. And with a menu that consists of "Good Mood Food", the options are contemporary, eclectic and certainly tempting. Mallory Tambling is the owner/manager front-of-house, while her parents are busy in the kitchen. Having moved from Holland to Macroom many years ago and opened Taste Cafe on Union Quay in Cork (being big Rory Gallagher fans), they then spent years in the lovely island of Curacao, also cooking and catering. And now they have brought their expertise and influences to Kenmare.
Papiamento is the language spoken in Curacao, and the word Boka comes from there - similiar to the Spanish word 'boca' meaning mouth - good name for a restaurant. The menu is divided into three main sections: 'BOKAS', 'The Big Stuff' and 'Soups & Salads'. On this menu the bokas consist of an artisan roll filled with a variety of interesting fillings and all with quirky names. We chose the Kokomo which came with spicy Caribbean chicken with a mango mayo topped with coriander. From 'The Big Stuff' we went for the Healthy Beetroot Burger, made up of kidney beans, raisins and herbs along with the beetroot and topped with avocado. And from the salad selection we chose the Goats Log Salad which was bright and colorful and tasty with a sweet zingy dressing.
I would like to go back and try the Peach & Love Salad, and the Chicken Loco Salad - both sounding such lovely summertime lunch dishes. The Macroom Buffalo meat burger is seriously tempting, as is the Indonesian Style Wrap and the Greek Style Lamb Kebab. It is as if this family are offering some of their favourite dishes from around the world, and taste is the key in each dish. They also offer desserts and they do breakfast each morning if you fancy an alternative to The Full Irish. We did sample the Dutch Apple Pie on our gastronomic world tour at Boka, and it is certainly the real deal. They also do great coffee. We will be back.
If you fancy fun and friendly food in Kenmare, give BOKA a try. Highly recommended by Hotel Reviews Ireland for 2017.