|This beautiful old heritage colonial house on a 2.5 acre garden property was originally built to house the managers of the Union Steamship Company sometime between 1910 and 1915. The house remained the property of the Company until 1988. The house later became the residence of the British Consul until the lease was sold to Sue Carruthers and Robert Brown in 2003.
Sue and Robert have been in the restaurant business on Rarotonga since 1984 and although semi-retired after selling The Flame Tree in 2000, had decided to go back into the business if they could find an old colonial house on the ocean front. They had enjoyed running a small cafe in their private botanical garden two days a week, but were ready to open an upmarket restaurant in a beautiful location on the waterfront if they could find suitable premises. So when the Union Steamship House became available, the opportunity was too good to pass up.
There was a lot of renovation work to do, but with a good team the work was completed in just ten weeks. Verandahs were extended on the front and sides of the house, and a commerical kitchen installed in the existing kitchen. The gardens were landscaped with palms and plants from Sue and Robert's private garden in Muri.
The new name 'Tamarind House' has been given to the property as the tamarind tree is found in all tropical countries. A tamarind tree did grow on the property until the mid-1980s, and many people remember eating the fruit from this tree as children. The tree was probably destroyed in the hurricane of 1987. Besides being a beautiful shade tree, the tamarind produces fruit that is used in many exotic dishes throughout Africa, Asia and the Caribbean. A new tamarind tree has been planted in the garden and in future years will become part of the history of this beautiful home.