Food blogger Soni Adriance shares her list of favourite spots to eat before an epic night out.
Welcome to the time of year when your default conversation topics are: the weather, your vocation and the fact that you can’t believe it’s almost end of the year. The years’ end comes with some weighty thoughts: what did I accomplish? How have I grown personally/professionally? What do I get my new brother in law for Christmas? It’s also the time of year filled with inexplicable joy and a frivolous approach to money spending. If you’re like me, you probably spend too many Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays debating what you want to do for dinner before heading for a night out. I’m here to round up some bar and restaurant favourites for dinner and drinks with friends before the big night out.
If you’re planning on broadcasting how much fun you’re having tonight on Instastories for all your friends and followers (or, let’s be honest, your ex) then head to Mama Rocks Kilimani. The brightly coloured restaurant serves as the perfect backdrop to your #OOTD (Outfit Of The Day) and any burger you order will come out of the kitchen hot, fresh and ready for its #FoodPorn moment on your feed. I took the time to eat every single burger on their main menu and a few of their specials (12 out of 14 burgers, you’re welcome) so I could tell you that the absolute must order burger is the S.L.B. (Strong Like Bull). This burger featured as a World Cup special and is now here to stay. It’s the perfect balance of salty, sweet and a little spicy with chorizo sausage, cheese and spicy sundried tomato sauce. Grab a burger and a cocktail or a beer with friends to get any good night started.
When Susan Wong wrote about the food at Havana, did you go? When your friend who lives in Westlands said the food was incredible, did you try it? No? Well, I’m here to remind you that Havana has delicious food. I know you wouldn’t necessarily expect it but go before 11PM and grab a table downstairs. Going to Havana at 7PM for dinner is like returning to your primary school as an adult: you notice a lot of things you didn’t appreciate before. The music isn’t blaring, the service is decent and a lot of people swear by the pork belly. I, however, would grab a pasta (gotta line the stomach, right?) and a seat by the window so you can watch the world go by.
Road House, Dennis Pritt
There comes a time in every young adults life where there starts to be some overlap in the places you frequent with older generation family members. Road House might just be one of those places. It’s the kind of spot you never know who you’ll run into because the food and laid back charm appeals to everyone. At Road House, patience is the name of the game, especially if you order their famous Maji Maji. Wait times can take up to an hour but it is worth it. Play a couple rounds of pool with some cold beers and catch up on the news that’s on the TV behind the bar while you wait for your food. Come hungry, order a lot and try to push through the food coma and on to a night out. I’m always a fan of the chicken wet fry, Maji Maji and mbuzi choma, with mukimo, ugali, veg and kachumbari as sides. Like I said, come hungry.
Kengeles is a local in Lavington and has a loyal fanbase. To those who religiously go to Kengeles on a Friday night, wait staff know their names and often their order too. This familiarity can be felt even with first time goers. Kengeles feels like a barbeque in your neighbour’s, backyard except it has a better wine selection and you don’t need to constantly tell the chef how good their food is. In the early evenings, the soft murmur of friends catching up and Supersport on the TV will be the backdrop to your meal and lull you into a sense of comfort. The bar food here is good, order a meat platter to share or some Kengeles Buffalo Wings. The chicken shawarma drips with the sweet deliciousness of fatty chicken skin. Whatever you choose to order, make sure you get a side of fries either to share or for yourself. They’re addictive in the best way.
With arguably one of the most popular happy hours in town, I can’t put a pre-game list together and not include Brew Bistro. The Westlands location has expansive views of the city and if you go a little earlier in the night you can get a table and some good food before your night out.
I apologise in advance to anyone whose local is The Tavern. The best- kept secret is out. The Tavern is a restaurant inside Kings Post, set amongst coastal architecture reminiscent of Lamu. Climb several flights of stairs for a great rooftop patio, affordable drinks and delicious food (the wings are surprisingly good). Although the speakers seem to always play DJ sets from Ultra (or something like it), it works. I don’t know how, but it does.
News Cafe is another restaurant with a popular happy hour (Enjoy their ginormous cocktails at special prices from 5PM to 7PM). Plus, they recently revamped their food menu. This is an easy solution for a group of friends.