15 May 2014

Lord Delamere's Terrace

#NRW2014 posts continue, this time in CBD.  Located opposite University of Nairobi, Fairmont The Norfolk Hotel is home to several restaurants including the open air cafe for which they are best known, Lord Delamere's Terrace, named for one of Kenya's original settlers. While the interior of the hotel and terrace were lovely, overlooking an active construction site did not lend itself to the ambiance one would expect from such a historical establishment. Fortunately, this is transitional and should hopefully be remedied at some point in the near future.... That, I suppose, is what happens when Nairobi literally grows up around the luxury hotel.

It's dark, but you can't miss the lights of the campus and lovely metal construction boards
The menu gave three selections for the starters and main courses. Since I was accompanied by a couple of friends we tried to choose different dishes in order to experience the full array of offerings.

28 April 2014

Ali Barbour's Cave Restaurant

Located in Diani on the beach next to Forty Thieves, Ali Barbour's is a convenient and popular spot to grab a bite while holidaying at the coast. A few weeks ago I took a weekend trip to Diani with a girlfriend, known to many as the Buffet Queen, for a much needed getaway from Nairobi. Some friends, Hot Pastis and the hubby, were also on holiday so we decided to meet up for dinner at "the Cave" one night. 

We headed over to Forty Thieves, the sister bar/restaurant to the Cave, and settled in for some sundowners and requested a reservation next door. For low season, in a bar that was mostly empty, the waiter told us it would be hours before he could get us a table next door. I’m not sure if this was a ploy to get us to stay at his table and have dinner or what but once we said we’d wait we quickly got an earlier reservation.
Once they “squeezed us in” we headed over and got settled. The ambiance is definitely the selling point here and the bougainvillea on the table was a nice touch along with soothing background music that was noticeable, but not distracting. I think you would be hard pressed to find a restaurant with a more unique ambiance than this place. We were a bit concerned it might start raining as it had many of the previous evenings, but were informed there was a sliding roof overhead, reassuring us that our dinners would not drown. It was also nice that there were mounted fans for those humid Diani evenings to keep us from sweating to death. 

27 March 2014

Eagle's The Steakhouse at Ole Sereni with a prelude at Black Gold Cafe at The Panari Hotel

This is the Restaurant Week meal that almost wasn't. Initially, my friend (who I've decided to nickname Hot Pastis for the purpose of this post) and I decided to visit Black Gold Cafe at the Panari hotel off Mombasa Road despite warnings from one Curry Delight that he thought the hotel was worthless and it was a waste of our time to drive all the way out towards the airport just to try out their restaurant.

Never one to take advice without experiencing something for myself, we ventured ahead. After sitting in crazy late evening Nairobi traffic, Hot Pastis and I finally arrived at our destination to discover that the restaurant was little more than a glorified cafeteria cafe with a fancified menu for the event. Strike one came quickly: despite claims that the cafe "will give it the feel of a street cafĂ© at the same time a comforting atmosphere of a game lodge as it faces the National Park", the ambiance was at best, lacking. The only view we had was of a florescent Korean Air sign and Mombasa Road. As Hot Pastis pointed out, "If I'm spending this much money on a meal, I don't want to stare at an airline sign." Strike two was close to follow and probably should have sent us running, but it was late and we were hungry. The entrance of the cafe featured a glass heater case full of meat pies and pastries that appeared to be "a bit dodgy", but we convinced ourselves that the Restaurant Week menu would be better than what was on display. Undeterred, we allowed ourselves to be seated and attempted to order a drink off the menu only to discover that just because their menu lists wines by the glass, does not mean that they will actually serve you wine by the glass. Looking around we slowly realized that of the handful of patrons in the restaurant, not one was eating. We took this as a sign and quickly skedaddled without committing to an entire bottle of wine. 

Now, I'm not saying never go to Panari. I hear they have an ice skating rink for the kids. And their website shows another restaurant, Red Garnet, that might have more promise. (It does boast a buffet option, if you're into that kind of thing.) Or if you're willing to experiment with day old pies left sitting out, in an albeit warmer case, give it a whirl and let me know how that turns out for you. 

Fortunately for us, we realized that Ole Sereni was just a hop, skip, and a jump across the highway and hightailed it over there before they closed. Located on the fourth floor, Eagle's Steakhouse, was a breath of fresh air compared to the "competition" across the road. With an actual view of the park and a lounge dining room it was noted that "at least it feels like a real restaurant". The ambiance was quite nice and you almost forget that you're in a hotel. Hot Pastis and I settled into our booth and got comfy with a glass of wine we ordered from an iPad wine list. The selection was decent and we settled on the South African Boschendal which was delightfully crisp. 

20 February 2014

Nairobi Restaurant Week 2014

Restaurant Week found Nairobi this February.  For foodies residing in Nairobi, the heavens rejoiced.  Numerous eateries participated in the event and, due to overwhelming demand, a number of restaurants extended their special menus an extra week to encourage new patrons to feast at their locale.

While there was quite a selection to choose from, there were many "repeats" included (multiple locations of the same restaurant, e.g. Seven and Mediterraneo), seemingly trying to boost the list's numbers participants.  There was definitely more than few restaurants I was disappointed to see were not participating.  However, I must commend EatOut Kenya for doing a spectacular job organizing big name sponsors and restaurant options for this inaugural event.  The restaurants I visited were well prepared with restaurant week magazines, organized and eager for restaurant week patrons, and their staff was knowledgeable about the  event and menu options.  Furthermore, the #NRW2014 website was well organized and easy to navigate making it simple to choose a dining locale, view the set menu, and make a reservation.