26 August 2012

Mandhari Restaurant

Yesterday evening I sat on the Mandhari Terrace in the Serena Hotel just outside of City Center and was wined and dined by my favorite Curry Delight. The restaurant was quiet, a relief from the other restaurants we had considered dining that night. The table overlooked the pool and CBD and was punctuated with the musical musings of a bevy of frogs and crickets with only an occasional burst of laughter wafting up from the pool bar below.

The waitstaff was attentive, if a bit hovering, but very professional. All I needed to do was to turn my head in their direction before someone scurried over to assist us, and they never let our drinks empty without requesting if we needed another.

The head chef is French and apparently visits the restaurant several times a year but the menu provides an array of choices ranging from set multi-course menus to continental a la carte or even a surprise five course menu specially designed by the chef. The cocktail selection was nothing exciting, just the typical drinks you expect to see in Kenya- Pimms, Dawa, Bloody Mary, with a couple of others thrown in to round off the menu. Their wine menu was extensive, but as the sole consumer of wine my choices were a bit limited to those they sold by the glass as I did not want to attempt to drink an entire bottle by myself. 

The meal began with a sweet burst of flavor in a small shot of soup, compliments of the chef. The prawn tempura appetizer was plated in a sweet sauce with a side of spicy avocado and tomato salad and crushed pepper. Curry Delight ordered the tilapia which, as the non-descriptive half of the duo, he declared, "good. A bit lemon-y and buttery." I went with the lobster bisque, a pricy, but absolutely delicious decision. The sauce was rich but was tempered down by the rice. Curry's assessment, "it was nice." The lobster was fresh and juicy and the sauce, while rich, was not too heavy. As a fervent lover of salt and pepper, I was surprised by the perfect seasoning of all of my dishes; not one of them needed a hint of anything extra. 

This quiet restaurant is a hidden gem; if you are looking for a respite from the hustle and bustle of Nairobi then this is the place for you.  Prices range from about KES 2000-4000 for the a la carte menu and the set menus start between KES 5000-6000 for those wanting to indulge in a multi-course gastronomical experience. Bon appetit! 

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