26 April 2011

Rolf's Place

A group of about 15 friends and I spent Easter weekend just outside of Nairobi near the Nairobi National Park. We started our Saturday by stopping at Rolf's Place for a leisurely lunch on our way to Masai Lodge, located just down the road.  

Location: About 1 1/2 km from the Masai Gate of Nairobi National Park; you take Magadi Road past the Mbagathi Gate and keep right where the road splits and head towards Rongai. Take the next left onto Masai Lodge Road and head towards Kitengela Glass Factory.  
Price: EntrĂ©es are from KES 800 to around KES 2000 (approximately $10-25)
Atmosphere: The medieval style restaurant and lodge is built on a cliff face overlooking the Nairobi National Park and Nairobi skyline. They also boosts views of Mount Kilimanjaro, Mount Kenya, and the Ngong Hills. As the namesake restaurant slash lodge slash entertainment venue of the successful chef/restauranteur they pay an inordinate amount of attention to detail down to the very silverware. Everything from the glass panes overlooking the river to the chairs and the silverware were embossed with the owner's name or initials.   

To get to the restaurant one must cross a SWINGING wooden suspension bridge spanning a gorge. As someone terrified of heights, this was a huge deterrent. Unfortunately for me, my friends declined to inform me of this obstacle prior to reaching the restaurant. As I did not want to sit in the car while they partook in delicious food without me, I sucked it up and crossed the bridge to much fanfare. It was horrifying. I would do many things to avoid repeating the experience. I would describe it as terrifying as the invisible bridge in Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade but reminiscent of the swinging bridge in The Temple of Doom (sans the heart eating cannibal). Plus, you have to do it twice! And the return walk was much more difficult as I had nothing but the car and solid ground to look forward to.  

I would suggest making reservations as seating is limited on the patio and it appeared that most tables were reserved.  Perhaps this is not the case on non-holiday weekends, but as it's a 45 minute drive from Nairobi (and a treacherous walk across the bridge), I wouldn't risk not being able to get seating.

From my companions remarks, the consensus was that the food here was excellent but the service was slow even for Kenyan standards. Our meals ranged from a bevy of appetizers to pasta to rib-eye steak. The presentation was lovely with the meals served under silver platters. I thought the pumpkin soup was very nice, but it was quite salty so if you're not a fan then steer clear. I split the pasta tricolore dish which I was expecting to be one dish of red, green, and white pasta but instead got a sampling of three pasta dishes. Their portions are ample enough to share and still be full.

Once you're done eating you can relax by the bar surrounded by African movie memorabilia, head back to lounge by the pool, or armor up to play some paintball back behind the lodge. If you are looking for something to do not far from Nairobi I would definitely recommend making a day out of it and heading out for an early morning game drive at the park followed by a visit to the Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage, lunch at Rolf's, and some shopping at Kitengela Glass.

No comments:

Post a Comment