Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Fogo Gaucho Steak House and Lounge Bar

“Incredible restaurant”-
"Fogo Gaucho" Steak House and Lounge Bar
5 of 5 stars
Kenyan_Connoisseur 77 contributions
Jul 23, 2008
2 people found this review helpful

This is currently my absolute most favorite restaurant in Nairobi. First of all, it's in a very safe area that's gated so you don't have to deal with vagrants waiting outside to pounce on you. Then for the active, it's near Gypsy's, a popular club so you can stroll over for drinks and a dance after dinner if you can move! Pavement used to be right next door but has since closed.

People go to Carnivore for the amazing meat selection but it's been lacking in variation and quality for the past two years or so. Fogo Gaucho (literally Brazillian Cowboys) sprung up as competition I think and they have every single all-you-can eat restaurant beat, stomachs down. The place is a "meat paradise" as they advertise but the last two times I've been there, I've gorged myself silly on their salad bar and ate very little meat! Unlike Carnivore which passes out a bowl of romaine lettuce, they have salad bar with every single salad and dressing you can imagine. They also offer at least two hot plate choices from the bar. There was a shrimp bisque last time which had more shrimp than bisque!

Once seated, they tell you what's on offer and you have a coaster by your plate that's red on one side and green on the other. When you're ready to be served, turn it on to green and the food just keeps coming. Roast quail, chicken drumsticks, roast chicken, garlic roast beef, rosemary lamb, pork, deep fried shrimp, turkey, more beef, more grilled fish - the choices are too much! On top of that, they offer fried bananas (which I highly recommend in between meals) and fries. When your plate is full and you want to stop the ever roving servers, turn the chip to red. It's not like Carnivore where you have to "surrender" with raising the white flag. You can stop and start anytime. They have desserts but I confess I never got to them.

Yes, I'm a bit anti-Carnivore because the last time I went there, I spent over $30 pp, £15 (Kshs. 2,000) for a very poor meat selection (tons of beef, pork and chicken sausage which is mystery meat anyway!). I enjoyed the Dawas though.

Fogo Gaucho prices are incredibly reasonable. $20, £10 (Kshs. 1,300) on Thursday - Saturday and on weeknights.....$15, £7.50 (Kshs. 1,000)!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The drinks are good but I didn't go there for them. They have a nice bar area for before and after drinks and also a big screen for the footie fans. It's a really great restaurant for the value and quality and highly recommend it. Dress comfortably!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

World Cup Match Report

DPRK vs Brazil - a world cup match report, written by my sister

So my boss calls me during a meeting and I send a busy signal to him. He then sends a text saying, 'Oh well, I guess you don't need the ticket'. I excuse myself, run out of the meeting and call and voila - spare ticket to the game yesterday! Went with three staff members to Ellis Park which is in downtown, downtown Johannesburg. These are the parts you don't see on brochures. Park outside boarded up buildings with no lights but fully occupied and druggies huddling outside oil drums by the street. very brisk walk towards the police who were helping out. (The security guards contracted to do FIFA security at Ellis Park are on strike so to avert disaster, the South African Police stepped in. They handled everything from traffic to parking to ticketing and frisking. First time I've seen white cops in downtown Joburg....chuckle)

There were tons of fans - Brazilians mostly and the odd DPRK flag here and there. The Brazilians love love the vuvuzela so don't put down SA fans for this game. It was also less noticeable in Rustenberg at the England game which is a very open air stadium. Nonetheless, they blew them nonstop from security to the stadium - but to be honest, once you are in there, you kind of forget that they exist. We made it through and walked all around the stadium to get to our very cordoned off area...seated in the lower terrace below Michel Platini and Sepp Blatter!!!
First thing I see is the FIFA Vip section where our seat numbers were and as we approached the entrance, a flipping red carpet!! Turns out that the spare seats came from some CEO who received them from the US Soccer Federation. He was there with our boss and he was a pretty nice guy. This was his eight world cup and his fifth game so far in this WC!

So, game on, celebrity hunting. A number of Emirati were above us and once in a while, Michel would look down on us. The DPRK bench was about 12 rows below us so we had a great view of everything. The pitch was fantastic and the first half was good. Was a shame about the immediate goal after the second half. When Korea scored, people were thrilled with even the Brazilians urging them on. There seemed to be a bunch of their own supporters dressed in red suits.

All in all, a great game on the coldest day of the year in Johannesburg. Temps were down to 20F so I am still thawing this morning at home. It's a public holiday so I'm staying in and then headed to a braai....shiver. Seriously, it is very very cold here. If there was any moisture, it would have snowed here. It is snowing in Lesotho and on the Eastern Cape. It is raining buckets with very strong wind in Cape Town so please don't envy those headed to the coast!! The sun shines very bright and we have blue skies all day but it is freezing! And oh, South Africans don't know what indoor heating and screen doors are. Seriously. I've never been in any heated houses here or enjoyed a fly free braai.

Hope you are all well - if there was any group of people whom I would have loved to be there - would have been you. You must all commit to England 2014. I already have a friend willing to host!! With FIFA breathing down corporations for having empty seats and ALA being an investment project - I'm sure more tickets are bound to come this way...fingers crossed. I will keep you posted and will put out pics as soon as I find my camera cord.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Fiesta Pub & Restaurant

Fiesta Pub & Restaurant
3rd Floor, Chester House
Koinange Street

I had a loose Friday just a week ago and I was feeling rather parched. Since I did not feel like going to my favorite haunts, I decided to try a new joint where I will not be forced to have polite conversation with acquaintances, a place I can chill out with my thoughts.

I picked on Fiesta since it is within the CBD and so, close walking distance for me. The interior is spacious with a separate area for dining, shielded away from the more livelier part of the place, the bar. I will not talk about food since I was not there to have dinner.

I settled my self on a bar stool and desperately tried to catch the barman's eyes. Took several attempts but finally he acknowledged my presence and came over. Ordered my usual double Viceroy on rocks, which was dully served. As time went by I was to discover that the service leaves a lot to be desired and many many curses stuck in your head.

I settled in to asses, nice decor, very inviting couches all over the place, good lighting, good general a very classy place.

They have a live band which plays some really cool jazz, though I had to sit through about 30 minutes of them tuning up. But the music was great. Lets see what else? Oh yeah, the pricing. A double of Viceroy was at 300 bob soooo, yeah. I also had two samosas which were ok, though they could use a bit more pepper. A samosa was going for 50 bob. The food at the next table also looked very inviting.

The washrooms,I had issue with. They have two washrooms, one is the kind you reach the door and decide you really did not neeeed to go. The other you wonder why they did not provide reading material. Maybe one is still work in progress but that needs to be sorted out.

Overall, I liked the place, mostly because it is cozy, and you can have a conversation without shouting your throat hoarse. And the jazz music. If you have been there, please share your experience.


Monday, May 12, 2008

Ethiopian Food

Want to try Ethiopian food?

Simple. Affordable. Accesible. Good food. Thats Habesha for you.

Habesha is an Ethiopian restaurant that is located along Argwings Kodhek road past Yaya. I have not had the pleasure of eating out at their other two restaurants but the one in Hurlingham is one of my favourites.

When you go to habesha you feel like you are at home. You can either opt to sit outside surrounded by REAL plants unlike those restaurants that opt to have plastic plants for decor. It has a homely feel to it and i always feel comfortable and relaxed when am there.During the day its not so busy but from 6pm people go there for drinks or food. Even on a Monday you will be suprised to find the place is fully packed. On weekends parking is a problem and one is forced to park oustside on the side of argwings kodhek road. Access by public transport is trouble-free as you just board a matatu number 46 and alight at the gate. From town if there is no traffic jam it will take about ten minutes to get there.

When you go through the gates you will tell what type of clientele that frequents the place. Prado’s, Toureg’s, Forester’s, Landcruisers…and of the course the corolla’s. If you are one to judge a place by the look of things you will surely turn back and leave. What a big mistake you will make!

Habesha is probably one of the few classy but very affordable restaurants in Nairobi. You look at their menu and its starts from as low as Kshs. 200. They have different types of food but only one caters for vegetarians.The food is served in a large platter, which is a wide round tray that is enough for two or three people. Ethiopian food usually consists of various spicy meat sauces, served with the traditional injera (Ethiopian flat bread) and shiro. Shiro is roasted and powdered chick peas. There are vegetables served with some dishes and probably the only ones that are not hot and spicy.

I love their coffee. Its served in a traditional way with the scent of hitting you on the face. One of the waiters informed me that to them taking coffee is sacred. Its said that coffe originated in Ethiopia.

They also have Ethiopian wine, which has honey. At first you may not like it but after a few sips you will be asking for more.If you just want to unwind after a hard day’s work or just hang out with your friends Habesha is the place to be. If you are unlucky to find Mr. Tolcha Gonfa, the owner, surrounded by his friends near the fire place, ask the waiters to bring you a jiko because outside can get pretty cold at times.
Ever seen a cat that looks like an elephant dwarf? The cat in Habesha is so BIG!! THe first tyme i saw it i was ins hock. What do they serve it? Oh and it does not understand English in case you start calling it pusss......
All I can say is if you haven’t been to Habesha, you better rush there now!

Monday, February 4, 2008

Sarova Panafric

Place: Panafric Hotel – Flame Tree Restaurant
Ambiance: Cozy, Hotelish
Service: Friendly, Warm

Monday was supposed to just be coffee time for me and my beau but after receiving HORRIBLE service from “The Mug” I needed to just change venues. I can’t handle bad service. I refuse to… so stay away from The Mug. He suggested Panafric, and I was so willing to go since I had not been there in eons. I pretty much could not remember the place.

The restaurant was not at all packed. A few tourists and some people having drinks while watching the Africa cup of nations. The menu exhibited a range as far as food was concerned while the prices were to be expected from a hotel. Quite reasonable if I was asked actually.

We settled for the platter [chicken, pork, sea food .. et al]… it was to die for. Like seriously…. I’m not a fan of sea food as such but I was pleasantly surprised.
After the dinner, I had a cocktail – The Deep also commonly known as a Blue Muthafuka. That drink made the trip worthwhile! [I know I had said I was going to quite drinking in 2008, but you know what happens to those resolutions. I fell off that wagon and I don’t think there is hope of ever getting back on].

One of the reasons why I love hotels and their restaurants unlike other places is because there is no pressure whatsoever to leave. You can slowly take your drink, talk and just enjoy being, either alone or together. And that is exactly what we did. We were. Together. But this is not a blog post about that. Its about Panafric. Which made for a pleasant date.

Soda: Kshs. 120
Double Viceroy: Kshs 350
Platter: Kshs. 1,250

Monday, December 10, 2007

A lovely Surprise

Place: Slim's Restaurant
Location: Corner of Ralph Bunche Road and Lenana Road Opp. Hutchings Biemer
Ambiance: Pretty Good
Service: Awesome

On Saturday after I made a random stop at WAPI [British Council], I politely asked my buddy to take me for lunch at a place I had yet to go to. That place was Slim's Restaurant. Granted, I had driven by the place a couple of times and to me, it looked like a clandestine-esque place. Sorta like Annie Oakleys.... so I did not know what to expect. Can I just say that I was pleasantly surprised? On walking in, there was a bar in the middle and booths all around. BOOTHS Y'all!! Maybe I should mention this..... I love sitting in booths!

Sidebar: The waiter was nothing short of amazing. Like seriously.... that dude was off the wall! I have not had such an attentive and superb service in a while and can I say: Impressive.

I was pretty hungry and the menu was too tempting but I did not have time to ponder and wonder........We ordered some buffalo wings for starters. I had lamb chops for my main course and my buddy had chicken. There is a *zing* that is in buffalo wings that these wings were missing. I cant say that they were not good, because they were....... but they were not buffalo wings......

However, the main course was too nice. That lamb was cooked to near perfection. The vegetables were just right and the fries were just fries.

The prices were reasonable. The wings were Kshs. 450, the chicken was Kshs. 550 and the Lamb was kshs. 650.

Do I recommend this place? Like Duh! DEFINITELY!

Other than Master Wok's at Capital Center..... this is the only other place that has jazzed me kiasi.
A beer is Kshs. 160, Sodas are Kshs. 80

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Train Ride to Mombasa

This review is by Bankelele.

Train travel to Mombasa is something i used to do a lot as a kid, but decided to do this month for nostalgia reasons. It's a colonial era service and an experience that is world famous – the railway is the reason that Kenya attracted such British interest (actually it was Uganda, but thank them anytime you meet them at a fabulous wedding)

I decided to post about the trip for those have taken or never tried the train ride. I'll only post about 1st class, since that's what I expect a young blogger to take. First class here is not first class of a plane, but you'll understand why When i was a kid it used to be a 13 hour journey, what's changes (i) goes to coast 3X week and returns same (ii) train stops everywhere, first stop is Nairobi east and makes about 15 more (though these only affects 3 rd class passengers commuters (iii) slower, scenic.

Duration: Nairobi to Mombasa train (7PM to 10 AM), the returning journey train arrived at 11 am in Nairobi

Full 3,375 shillings (full service; beddings, dinner and breakfast) 2,160 (beddings, no meals), 1,900 just you (no beddings or meals)

If you've never been on a train, it's an experience to try. First class is a double Decker cabin. You get as much privacy as you want, though it's good to interact. If you're a group of say 4, you can ask for facing cabins and slide open a door between the two cabins to create a large sitting room

The moment of the train, might take a few minutes to get used to the rocking movement, and crossing between coaches e.g. to get to the dining car.

Toilets: are found on each end of a coach, on one side, they are normal sit toilets, but on the other side, is a long drop (straight to the rails – which is why they tell you not to use it while the train has stopped)

Scenery: nice except near Nairobi and Mombasa; the smell of dumpsite trash at makupa causeway at the Coast and and in Nairobi where passing the Mukuru kwa Reuben slum gives tourists a view of a side of Nairobi, only seen in the Constant Gardener. in masaini area saw some ostriches and giraffes, but no legendary man eating lions

service: dinner is a really heavy meal, but leave that to tourists. Skip it and carry your own (some Japanese tourist brought their own nandos pizza on board). Opt to buy the breakfast: - it's a full meal fried egg, sausage, bacon tomato, coffee/tea, juice toast plenty (they can even buy more if it runs out), all for 475 bob extra. Another good thing about the dining car is that it has the best view i.e. you're able to look out of both sides of the train simultaneously

Cabins; quite good, varies from cabin to cabin, and improving. A Few moths ago they used to handout lamps, but now all cabins are fully lit. Trains are old and you may find some small things like mosquito screen missing, or fan broken, but. If it's a major problem ask the steward and they may move you to another cabin

Customer service; very good, a manager comes round to greet passengers and answer any dumb questions. As soon as the train starts dinner is served (steward comes round with a xylophone to announce meals)

Beer costs 100 bob and soda 30

Safety: always after, recent horror stories. Police are on board the train and it travels quite close to the Nairobi Mombasa road in most places also for most parts of the line [in case any sh* happens] . Safaricom service is ok on most parts of the jounrney (about 80%) including gprs

Verdict: Support the revival of the railways. and take the train for the experience; it's a long journey but can be fun. Carry dinner of your own, but buy their breakfast as the journey is long.