They recently celebrated their 12th anniversary - and in a market that has virtually been brought to their knees through a prolonged international tourism break with Covid ravaging many economies, the Vineyard has stood strong and grown, endearing itself to a vast prism of clientele with different tastes and preferences. And this is what we, too, find special about the Vineyard, and we set out to capture the magic, the energy that has made them a success – to find out what exactly strikes a chord with clients at the Vineyard.
Be it a Gambian family outing with children, or a bunch of youngsters, taking selfies, Instagramming pictures, making friends envious that they have been at the Vineyard, or be it celebrating a birthday party – or a quiet romantic one to one, or even a business meeting – otherwise boring – transformed into a colourful event – with the sounds of sizzling platters, dragging aromas around the open terrace, almost enticing other clients to see what was being carried across to the other clientele – our cameras couldn't escape the smiling faces of the staff, serving as though you were at their home.
The vast array of drinks that adorn the bar, almost unmatched in Restaurants in The Gambia, a selection of wines, though quite common in the tiny Gambia, yet served with an exclusiveness that you would find only at a few places or as though was a product of the Vineyard alone. The service is always cheerful and willing. And something else strikes you as a client visiting the restaurant late at night – no one tells you that the kitchen is closed – well, almost never, when a client is there – as late as into the early hours – the Vineyard kitchen seems to remain open as long as there is someone to serve.
We have got to know the staff by name, as we would know anyone at our homes. The atmosphere as the evening goes along is quite endearing – and one rarely notices the passage of time – a glass of Rose wine, an expresso-martini cocktail, the signature Vineyard Julep cocktail all add colours to the long past sunset and the beautiful concealed lights at the Vineyard.
You can browse the exhaustive menu of the Vineyard on the My Gambia magazine or ask us for our favourites – we will dispel the popular belief that Indian cuisine is spicy – just as we were and are convinced that Indian cuisine at the Vineyard can be made special, tasty and not spicy at all, for those who ask. We have a variety of dishes that the Chefs at Vineyard make, keeping our tolerance of spices in mind – and have converted us into lovers of Indian cuisine.
Our recommendations are the (mild versions) of Prawns Korma, Fish or Prawn Koliwada, Chicken 65 and of course, you cannot miss the Naans – Cheese Naan in our case – but you can also choose from quite a large array of a choice of Indian bread. The Vineyards prawn platter is very popular with many of our friends too.
For those who love a lazy yet filling breakfast or brunch, the Vineyard is open from 10.30 or 11.00 in the morning – and you definitely must try their North Indian Aloo paratha or their egg burji paratha and the rather mildly sweet Peshawari paratha. Served with yoghurt or a pickle, sitting with either a coffee or their mango lassi or a black-salt seasoned lime soda, you could pass your entire afternoon before realising that it's already time for lunch - and in our case – we were there till dinner time.
Beer on draught taps and a further wide selection in bottles or cans are a favourite with many who come by the Vineyard to watch sports on their three LED screens. The rugby and football watchers are the more vocal of the clientele – sometimes drowning out the sounds of music from the live musician – most often Kutz on the keyboards – you think it's piped music until you hear the claps from his die-hard followers and music lovers. He sings with a melody that is unobtrusive and extremely pleasant to your ears and sets in with the mood that brings you to want to keep coming to the Vineyard.
Sound, Flavours, Colours and Ambience – all blend and merge into a wonderful experience that you can find only at the Vineyard. You will need to navigate your way upstairs to this every popular restaurant in The Gambia and be even more careful as you reluctantly manoeuvre yourself back to earth after a wonderful day out.
Contact us to reserve – or for more information.