EX­PE­RI­ENCE KENYA’S TOP RESTAU­RANTS

Kenya's food and drink in­dus­try is the most de­vel­oped in the re­gion. Kenya has more ho­tels than any other coun­try, Nairobi has more restau­rants than any other city on the African con­ti­nent and its su­per­mar­ket sec­tor is the most ad­vanced. No­mad Africa’s se

Nomad Africa Magazine - - Special Review | Kenya’s Top Restaurants -

with tourism be­ing one of the re­gion's big­gest earn­ers and with a huge grow­ing mid­dle class, the food and bev­er­age in­dus­try in Kenya is set for sub­stan­tial growth. With the mar­ket de­vel­op­ing, there is the grow­ing need for ac­cess to new and in­ter­na­tional prod­ucts and with global su­per­mar­kets en­ter­ing the re­gion and new restau­rants con­stantly be­ing launched, now is the time to en­ter this flour­ish­ing mar­ket. Be­low are Kenya’s top notch food spots.

Lord Er­roll Restau­rant Nairobi

Lo­cated in the leafy green sub­urb that is Runda, The Lord Er­roll serves the finest French cuisine. The restau­rant is best known for its ap­pe­tiz­ers such as Smoked Salmon and Es­car­got. The house spe­cial­ties at the restau­rant such as flambé dishes, prawns and fil­let care­fully pre­pared for the best unique food ex­pe­ri­ence in East Africa. The green sprawl­ing gar­den and their great gourmet dishes makes it a great re­lax­ation spot. It is a nice place to un­wind with fam­ily and friends. The restau­rant’s in­te­rior de­sign is a blend of two dif­fer­ent cul­tures meshed to­gether to bring a rather dis­tinct am­bi­ence. I fell in love with the view of the restau­rant, so calm­ing, breath­tak­ing and serene. The cock­tails are also re­ally good. If you are look­ing for a calm bar to just re­lax and un­wind, while you qui­etly sip your gin tonic, then the Lord Er­roll bar is your joint.

En­hance your din­ing ex­pe­ri­ence with wines from the restau­rant’s broad wine col­lec­tion. Their wine list fea­tures wines, which are among the world's finest. Im­ported wines in­clude French cham­pagnes such as Moet et Chan­don and Dom Perignon.

Sun­day Jazz brunch is one of the oc­ca­sional events at the restau­rant. The well­lit ro­man­tic set­ting makes the Lord Er­roll a per­fect wed­ding venue. The restau­rant has mas­tered the art of great food, wine and mu­sic, what more could you ask for?

45de­grees Restau­rant

This is one of the best hid­den secrets in Nairobi. Per­fectly tucked in Gar­den Es­tate, Nairobi, most peo­ple don't re­al­ize what a gem the 45de­grees restau­rant is. Chef Harold has a rap­port most chefs can only dream about. Harold is a culi­nary ge­nius! He is the Stephen Hawk­ings of all food and wine mat­ters.

The restau­rant has a rich African out­door vibe, cozy yet ef­fort­lessly ro­man­tic at night. It gives you that serene, kind of zen feel­ing.

I had a chance to sam­ple a few items on the menu and my palate lit­er­ally got schooled. The menu is very ex­ten­sive, in­cor­po­rat­ing great food with an ex­pan­sive wine se­lec­tion.

Chef Harold does a six course meal, each paired with the best wine. The baked but­ter­nut squash served with as­para­gus and truf­fle oil was, for lack of a bet­ter word, ef­fort­lessly del­i­cate, warm and nu­tri­tious. I was im­pressed with the Karibu Africa meal from the African story menu. It was very fresh, tasty and nour­ish­ing. Ev­ery item on his menu will leave you crav­ing for more.

Chef Harold just has a way with food; he is hands down the best chef in Nairobi. I would rec­om­mend the ten­der beef bour­guignon to all the meat lovers out there. It is def­i­nitely an ex­pe­ri­ence to add on a bucket list.

For the wine lovers, 45de­grees is the restau­rant to visit. Ad­vance your palate with the restau­rant’s very ex­ten­sive wine col­lec­tion and the best of Cal­i­for­nian wine. The strik­ing thing about the 45de­grees restau­rant is not only the food and wine, but rather the chef him­self. He is the heart of the restau­rant, a foun­tain of knowl­edge when it comes to the culi­nary scene in Africa and Europe.

The floor­less choco­late cake and choco­late dipped straw­berry dessert served with Ar­bor Mist Mer­lot, black­berry will not dis­ap­point ei­ther. It is the per­fect way to fin­ish one of the most unique and best food ex­pe­ri­ences any vis­it­ing tourist or lo­cal can ask for.

About Thyme Restau­rant

Sit­u­ated on the cor­ner of Pe­poni Road & El­dama Ravine Road in the heart of West­lands, About Thyme is one of Nairobi’s most popular foodie des­ti­na­tions. It has a ro­man­tic, serene and dreamy ‘out­doorsy’ am­bi­ence per­fect for a ‘date night’ and yet is di­verse enough for small groups or cor­po­rate events too. It caters for all oc-

ca­sions, yet still man­ages to re­main pri­vate and exclusive.

The serv­ing staffs are friendly, yet pro­fes­sional and wel­com­ing, mak­ing you feel right at home. My fresh tuna tar­tar starter was lay­ered with a tangy avo­cado salsa, which per­fectly com­pli­mented it and made me feel like there was a fi­esta go­ing down in my mouth.

For my main course, I opted for the gourmet ‘Big Beefy Fully Loaded Burger’, which was def­i­nitely some­thing to rave about. A tasty, herby, aged beef patty char­coal grilled to taste and served on a toasted sesame bun fully loaded with crispy ba­con, pro­volone cheese, gherkins, toma­toes & let­tuce – served with French fries and ‘kale slaw’ it was huge, juicy and sat­is­fy­ing.

They also have a very im­pres­sive dessert menu. I took my waiter’s rec­om­men­da­tion and tried the ‘Sticky Date Pud­ding’, which is ap­par­ently their most popular dessert and I could see why: It was so good and yet so sin­fully bad…..an old fash­ioned sticky tof­fee pud­ding served pip­ing hot, smoth­ered with thick tof­fee sauce with wal­nut bits and the scoop of creamy vanilla ice-cream that it was served with was the per­fect ac­com­pa­ni­ment.

The restau­rant boasts a well-stocked bar and a com­pre­hen­sive wine list to com­ple­ment their meals and some of the best cock­tails in town, I had a chance to try out their sig­na­ture ‘Chilli Mango Caipir­inha’, which had the right bal­ance of chilli and sweet with the added kick of white rum.

I thor­oughly en­joyed my ‘About Thyme Ex­pe­ri­ence’ and left with a huge smile on my face, per­fectly un­der­stand­ing why the restau­rant was awarded a 2017 Trip Ad­vi­sor cer­tifi­cate of ex­cel­lence.

Tamarind Restau­rant

Lo­cated in Karen, near Karen Blixen, the tamarind restau­rant is on a league of its own. The tamarind restau­rant has been around for 40 years! It is one of the restau­rants that have helped in shap­ing the Kenyan culi­nary scene to what it is now. This sea food restau­rant is most def­i­nitely the un­ri­valed crème de-la crème in Africa. It is a restau­rant that has been known to set the trend, while oth­ers fol­low. It hosts most of the world lead­ers who have vis­ited Kenya and has won se­ries of awards over the years, beat­ing other restau­rants across the con­ti­nent of Africa.

The Tamarind restau­rant has a Swahili coastal decor with African art well dis­played and the decor, the am­bi­ence, mu­sic and light­ing are all per­fectly merged to give you the best in­ti­mate din­ing ex­pe­ri­ence of your life.

The Tamarind din­ing ex­pe­ri­ence is de­signed to cel­e­brate the orig­i­nal clas­sics from the 40 years the restau­rant has been in op­er­a­tion. I had an oys­ter soup at the restau­rant as a first timer and I loved it! It’s creamy, with a pinch of pep­per and I would rec­om­mend it any time. The clas­sic tamarind lobster is also a great item on the menu. It is very fresh, served with just a sprin­kle of co­rian­der. You get to fully savour the de­light that it is a well-cooked lobster. It is very sim­ple, but ex­tremely de­li­cious! The restau­rant also has a wide range of wine and drinks, sourced from ev­ery part of the globe, from Italy to Amer­ica and even lo­cal wines from Kenya. The desserts at the Tamarind restau­rant are an­swered prayers to cake lovers. The desserts have just got a way to make you feel like ev­ery­thing in the world is right! The mint choco­late cake at the restau­rant is my fa­vorite. It's colour­ful, minty and choco­laty. Ev­ery in­gre­di­ent on the menu is bal­anced per­fectly to com­pli­ment each other. Above all, it is not an easy feat to sur­vive the restau­rant busi­ness for 40 years, but then again with the great food

and such ex­em­plary cor­dial ser­vice, it is no won­der that the Tamarind restau­rant is still run­ning strong. The restau­rant is num­ber one on Trip Ad­vi­sor since Fe­bru­ary 2016 and win­ner, Con­ti­nen­tal Lux­ury Seafood Restau­rant 2017.

Ta­mambo Restau­rant

Ta­mambo is a restau­rant lo­cated in Karen near Karen Blixen. It is ma­jorly known as one of the best venues for huge cor­po­rate events and wed­dings. It has a nat­u­ral gar­den out­doorsy at­mos­phere. The Ta­mambo bar is very mod­ern, charm­ing and artis­tic with var­i­ous paint­ings hang­ing on the wall. The restau­rant in gen­eral is big on the African theme even from the very ami­able staff uni­forms.

The Ta­mambo restau­rant uses lo­cal prod­ucts, in­gre­di­ents and it has in­cor­po­rated many African cuisines on its menu.

For the best desserts, Ta­mambo is the place to visit. The cake dessert at the restau­rant is creamy, choco­laty and a great stress re­liever. It is ap­pe­tiz­ing even from just its beau­ti­ful pre­sen­ta­tion. The desserts are mas­ter­pieces. It is in­tensely palatable, re­fresh­ing to the taste buds and sim­ply the best there is in Nairobi.

Sarova Panafric Ho­tel

The Sarova Panafric restau­rant is best known for its steaks. It is home to the best ex­quis­ite steak meals south of the Sa­hara. The Sarova Panafric is lo­cated in Nairobi. The flame tree restau­rant at Sarova Panafric is one of my fa­vorite restau­rants. I love the whole retro-out­doorsy vibe that it has go­ing on. The Sarova Panafric is an ideal restau­rant to have power lunches or cor­po­rate din­ners be­cause of its per­fect lo­ca­tion in the city.

The restau­rant of­fers a va­ri­ety of dishes, but they mainly ma­jor on steak. Chef Avraj, the ex­ec­u­tive chef at the restau­rant has a lot to say on the culi­nary scene in Kenya. He talked of how the Kenyan culi­nary scene has evolved and is now be­ing com­pared to London's. We also had an il­lu­mi­nat­ing talk on the growth of wine cul­ture in East Africa and how it is rapidly ad­vanc­ing.

The short ribs at Sarova Panafric are very ten­der, tasty and served with creamy green veg­eta­bles, steamed toma­toes and onions. Chef Avraj doesn't com­pro­mise on qual­ity and he per­son­ally makes sure that their sup­plies are fresh. He is a chef com­mit­ted to main­tain­ing the in­tegrity of the Sarova ex­pe­ri­ence.

The choco­late brownie with nuts and straw­berry ice cream at the restau­rant is fan­tas­tic. It is choco­late rich; the nuts add a sur­pris­ingly crunchy taste to it. The best part is when you ac­tu­ally dip a piece in ice cream and then take a bite. It is the ideal way to com­plete the idyl­lic Sarova ex­pe­ri­ence.

Cheka Iza­kaya Ja­panese Restau­rant

This is one unique restau­rant I had the priv­i­lege to fea­ture. Lo­cated in West­lands ,Manyani East road, the Cheka Ja­panese Iza­kaya is a fully fledged Ja­panese restau­rant in Kenya, East Africa. The restau­rant is specif­i­cally de­signed and dec­o­rated to give you the most re­al­is­tic taste of Ja­pan in the city. Ev­ery bit from the fine din­ing to the cut­lery is im­ported from Ja­pan. This is the best Ja­panese restau­rant in Nairobi and in East Africa in gen­eral. Un­like other Ja­panese restau­rant in East Africa, the Cheka Iza­kaya doesn't serve any Korean or Chi­nese food and the restau­rant is the only restau­rant owned by a Ja­panese in Nairobi, Kenya. The restau­rant solely of­fers a wide range of the best Ja­panese meals, from Ja­panese

pan­cakes, sashimi, to noo­dles and just to name but a few. All prod­ucts and in­gre­di­ents are freshly sourced from Kilifi.

This restau­rant is best known for its Ja­panese wine "Sake". The Sake, also called "Ni­hon­shu" is brewed us­ing pol­ished rice, wa­ter and white koji mold as the main in­gre­di­ents. It is served ei­ther hot or cold and has an al­co­holic con­tent of about 10-20 per­cent.

If you are a foodie who loves try­ing out new food and cul­ture, look no fur­ther for a Ja­panese ex­pe­ri­ence. The Cheka Iza­kaya restau­rant will give you that and so much more.

Le Gre­nier à pain

Le Gre­nier à Pain is a French restau­rant sit­u­ated at River­side drive, West­lands in Nairobi, Kenya. It ex­udes a min­i­mal­is­tic, yet mod­ern am­bi­ence. It is very pic­turesque and has a French vibe about it. I had a chance to en­joy its fa­mous crois­sant with a piece of French cake and I had the best pas­try ex­pe­ri­ence ever!

The hot choco­late at the French restau­rant is lit­er­ally to die for. They ac­tu­ally use fresh hot milk and im­ported dark choco­late. Yes, real dark choco­late that is crushed and dipped into the hot milk. The Pain au Cho­co­lat crois­sant at the restau­rant is fresh, flaky and makes an amaz­ing pas­try ex­pe­ri­ence, es­pe­cially when you get to the mid­dle part filled with the best dark choco­late. The cakes served at Le Gre­nier are unique in that they are made from tra­di­tional and clas­sic French bak­ery recipes.

There is an out­door space, the wait­ers at the restau­rant are very wel­com­ing and the prices are very pocket friendly. Mr Yan Welf­fens, the Man­ag­ing Direc­tor of the restau­rant said, "Qual­ity doesn't mean ex­pen­sive or lux­ury, rather it is putting the best prod­uct for all to en­joy. "For a French ex­pe­ri­ence in East Africa, the Le Gre­nier à Pain is the right spot.

The Flame Tree restau­rant at Sarova Panafric, Nairobi, Kenya.

About Thyme is a cosy restau­rant tucked into a snug lit­tle nook on the cor­ner of El­dama Ravine Road, just as you turn into it from Pe­poni Road.

Above: About Thyme restau­rant caters for all oc­ca­sions, yet still man­ages to re­main pri­vate and exclusive.

Above Cen­ter: A set ta­ble for two at the About Thyme restau­rant. The restau­rant boasts a well­stocked bar and a com­pre­hen­sive wine list to com­ple­ment tasty meals on the menu. It was awarded a 2017 Trip Ad­vi­sor cer­tifi­cate of ex­cel­lence.

Above Right: The fine din­ing at the Lord Er­roll Restau­rant.

Sarova Panafric - The Flame Tree restau­rant in­te­rior.

Above Left: Sarova Panafric- The Flame Tree Restau­rant ex­te­rior.

Above Right: Cheka Ja­panese Iza­kayane restau­rant, one of the only au­then­tic Ja­panese restau­rants (solely owned by Ja­panese) in Nairobi, Kenya.

Cheka Ja­panese Iza­kaya restau­rant’s am­biance ex­udes a blend of wooden tex­tures, light airy in­te­ri­ors as well as an ul­tra-ap­peal­ing out­door al­fresco set­ting.

Cheka provids a de­li­cious ar­ray of ex­pertly pre­pared Ja­panese dishes in­clud­ing; the very best in Sushi & Sashimi plat­ters, Cheka noo­dles, Fresh Oys­ters, Ja­panese Sake, as well as a wide va­ri­ety of sump­tu­ous Meat dishes.

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