All the locals of Tamarin will tell you, their voice betraying their nostalgia: Mardaye, was the heart of Tamarin, always associated with Sunday afternoon and the traditional sunset which marks the end of the weekend. Mardaye was this tiny shop, a few steps from the bay, on the main road. Himself, his wife and his daughter worked there, and more particularly on Sunday to the greatest pleasure of the regulars. Mardaye prepared “gato-patate”, sweet potato-based, a variation of rissole whose fried paste concealed the delectable taste of sugar, coconut and sweet potato. Your fingers and mouth would get mercilessly burned as it was impossible to wait until this treat has sufficiently cooled down before biting into it. One would queue on the pavement and the uninitiated who had not reserved ahead of time could only watch, helpless and frustrated, as the more aware customers left with white paper bags filled to the brim. The worst situation was to patiently wait while savouring the heady smell only to be told: “No reservation? There is none left” because Mardaye put more emotion and tenderness into his cakes than in his relationships with the customers. But for the lucky ones setting out again towards the bay with their invaluable treasure, it was nearly impossible to wait to get to the beach to surreptitiously sink their teeth into their “gato-patate” Then, once seated on the beach, one savoured the “gato-patate” which lost some of its searing heat, with a lost gaze directed towards the horizon.
Mardaye does not need to cook “gato-patate” any more, his reputation offered him a peaceful retirement, as sweet as his cakes.
Photo Credit : Philippe Online