As a certified wannabe foodie…(wannabe because I like to eat the stuff more than talking and writing about it) …..I love the Nairobi Restaurant Week. In its second year the Restaurant Week is firmly ingrained into Nairobi’s social calendar.
Last year, I only sampled one restaurant, The Artisan at Sankara. This year I was tad more greedy and wanted more.
I sampled three restaurants.
Thursday Dinner; Dusit Soko (Dusit2)
14, Riverside Drive
Dusit Experience : 8/10
This place is a total class act from the get go, Valet Parking, very friendly and courteous security personnel and concierge. The hostess was a tad arrogant, we got there before our 7pm reservation and instead of politely suggesting we have a drink at the bar, she just flung her hands and said we have to wait. Well, we went to the Zing Bar, the set up is Ah-mazing, and had a drink as we waited to be sitted. The staff at the bar were great, very friendly and easy.
When our hostess came to sit us, we were shown to the wrong table, I had reserved an outdoor table, and we were shown to one inside. When the other hostess figured this we were rudely displaced, but she kinda made up for it by seating us next to an electric heater and we were good to go.
The waiters/waitress (coz they kept changing ) were lethargic and boring…like they were being forced to wait on us. However what they lacked in enthusiasm , they made up for in professionalism….serving from the correct side, kept the glasses re-filled etc. etc.
The food gets an 8/10 only because the salad starter was horirible…..other than the parmesean crisps, I didn’t like it. The Pork belly and apple purée was to die for, super cool presentation too. The pork was so soft it just fell of the knife, succulent on the inside and perfectly crisped on the outside. Dessert was heavenly melt in your mouth white chocolate mousse…heaven!
I had a delightful Cranberry Juice. I can’t remember the wine I ordered but it was a bit too heavy for my palate….I suck at wine choices….best to stick with the house wine.
If I could give them 20/10 I would. The decor and ambience of this place is out of this world, it transports you out of the hustle and bustle of this city, wraps you up, makes you feel like royalty. Love, love, love it.
Friday Dinner: Pampa Churrascaria
Disclaimer: This restaurant was chosen for me.
Pampa Experience: 7/10
My review of this place was definitely going to be flawed, Dusit2 was going to be a tough act to follow. The staff were excellent, very friendly and enthusiastic and fast. Considering we had reservations we had a really crappy location, but I guess since the place is geared towards large parties, small groups take whatever is left.
The food here was a grand buffet with a selection of soup and bread rolls, every salad you can possibly imagine….
(I saw all the usual Nairobi buffet salad suspects), cheese and crackers. I think there was also some rice,pasta and beef bolognaise.
Sadly, for me, there was nothing memorable or imaginative…..I’m sorry, but if I have made it or had it before….it means as a chef you are not out to blow my mind with your food.
Then came the all you can eat meat…fish,chicken, seared beef, garlic beef, pork ribs, camel, crocodile. Hmmmm….the only thing that I loved was the camel, it was perfectly medium rare…yuuuum! The chicken was good. The fish too salty. Everything else was too dry, cooked to a crisp and all tasted the same.
For dessert, was pineapple with caramelized sugar and cinnamon…..now, I’ve had this dish before and this one was grossly underwhelming…..too much cinnamon and not enough time on the grill or broiler.
I had a simple Red House wine, after my mistake the night before, it was perfect, Red, Sweet, Cheap…which is just how I love my wines.
All that being said the food here is more than value for money, and the enthusiastic waiter who kept bringing more crocodile aka “Nyang” kinda made it all worthwhile.
White damask table linen….are you freaking kidding me, my lunch kibanda is better. And the small metal platters are so tacky….their only saving grace is very cool knives and forks, and the little charming wishing well outside the restaurant.
Sunday Lunch: Caramel
ABC Place, Waiyaki Way
Caramel Experience : 10/10
I was flying solo for this one, so when I told the hostess that I would be dining alone, she asked if she could show me to a smaller table, I said yes….but on seeing the table/ location…I was like na-ah, I’ll just have my original table. I was shown to my table, great location; view of the city and perfect panorama of the entire restaurant and lounge, just like I had requested when reserving.
The wait staff were excellent, my waitress was wonderful, asked all the right questions, made the perfect recommendation for a cocktail, explained each dish, was always just there without being annoying.
After lunch, they asked for my contacts to send me a thank you card for dining there…..and I received a complimentary pen…
That, is how to do experience…!!! Go Caramel.
My starter, oh my starter, Seared Beef Carpaccio, light and flagrant and oh, so flavorful this must be the best thing I’ve eaten all year…..the presentation, perfect blend of flavors, my favorite vegetable arugula aka rucula aka rocket…this was Gourmet Perfection.
The main dish was a tad disappointing….good presentation, the chicken was moist and juicy but royally bland….meh, meh, meh…the chicken was served with a parnsip purée which was very tasty. I liked it so much I bought parsnips to try re-reate at home.
The Raspberry Cheesecake was divine…..every little morsel was a taste of heaven. I jokingly asked the waitress for seconds.
The waitress recommended a strawberry fizz cocktail which was sooooo good….so very good….did I say good. I can still taste it.
The decor is very contemporary chic and urban which I absolutely loved.
Three days of great food and company, NRW should come twice a year….:-)