20 June 2013

Wagamama: Updated

Updated 20 Jun 2013: Traveling on yet another early morning flight through Heathrow Terminal 5, I bee-lined over to Wagamama. I contemplated trying somewhere new but the booths are comfortable, the servers are friendly and don't hurry you out if you take your time reading and drinking coffee, plus I was in the mood for something more than just eggs and toast.

While the menu does offer more traditional fare, I spiced up my order this time around with a vegetarian Japanese pancake. The wasabi mayonnaise was sublime. I am definitely importing some of that back to Nairobi! After sleeping through two in-flight meals, I wasn't sure if just a pancake would be enough to quench the hunger, but it was plate-size and quite filling.

There's something for everyone here, from the traditional English breakfast to Japanese delights; as long as you can get over the culture shock of paying about 9 quid for a pancake and two cups of coffee then make this a must-eat your next time through Heathrow. 

21 Nov 2012 initial visit: I am currently on a little break from the African diet since I traveled home to the States earlier this week to celebrate Thanksgiving and stuff myself with all the delicious foods that are not readily available in Kenya. On Monday I flew through London's Heathrow airport where I had a layover from about 5am UK time onward. Great. After a 10 hour flight everyone wants to sit in an airport for five hours early in the morning.

Taco Zulu: Updated

Updated 6/2015: According to Google, Simply Fish on Florida Road (see end of review) in Windermere is permanently closed.

Updated 11/2013: On a second work trip to Durban, another group of colleagues and I decided to try Taco Zulu once again. The service was much better this time around, but not remarkable. We noted that they had branched out into sushi. Odd for a Mexican joint, but whatever sells, I suppose. We didn't try any since they were having some sort of special so we all ended up with various burritos. They were great. The best thing about this place, in my opinion.

Original 6/2013: Upon arrival in Durban some restaurants were recommended to me on nearby Florida Road so my Kenyan colleague and I walked over a couple of blocks and immediately saw the Taco Zulu sign and thought we'd check it out.

Photo credit

06 June 2013

Habesha Revisited

Not much has changed at Habesha since I last visited, which was probably at least a year ago since I've been traveling, the service is consistently terrible, and I prefer to eat at restaurants that value their staff and customers. While I hadn't given up patronizing them entirely, I typically chose other Ethiopian restaurants over them.

This evening I made an exception for a friend's return to Nairobi. She loves the cuisine and Habesha is the only Ethiopian restaurant in the immediate neighborhood open in the evenings with any ambiance for a group meal. However, if I had expected, or even dimly hoped for, a change in management style at my old haunt I was sadly disappointed pretty much immediately upon arrival. A chilly night, we requested to sit near the fire pit. The servers refused because the open table sat eight and they claimed it was reserved for larger groups of 10-12. The other empty table was for  management. Because, obviously, non-paying customers should be the most comfortable. To make their argument more ridiculous, after we offered to move tables if a larger party came in and being refused, not one large party arrived during the entire two hours we sat there. It was a Wednesday night after all, it's not like we were asking to prevent a large group from being seated on a busy weekend night. I'm so glad that the 10-12 top of imaginary diners were warm and comfortable during their non-existent dinner while we shivered a table over, just out of the reach of the fiery warmth. For the record, if management thought about the comfort of their actual customers and not those that may or may not appear, they would most likely have made more sales. We would have stayed for at least another round of drinks after dinner, but left quickly, ready to escape the chill. 

28 April 2013

Angelo's Restaurant

Billed as an "Afritalian cafe" on the beachfront at Shark Rock Pier there is not much Italian or African about the cuisine. It did have a few pasta dishes, some Thai platters, burgers, and several salads.  However, the ambiance is great with two patios overlooking the Indian Ocean. The restaurant is located on the "boardwalk" next to the KFC and below Barney's (a brewhouse with great live music). The food is very inexpensive, a full plate of pasta or half portion with a garden salad is only 49R. My friend commented that we only spent USD3 more per person than we did for our seafood takeaway at lunch and we had a bottle of wine in addition to our dinner. 

Unfortunately, the food is only mediocre and the service left much to be desired. The best I can say is everything was edible. The waiter swore to my friend (who did not have a lot of vegetarian options to choose from on the menu) that the tuna was fresh and absolutely did not come from a can. Hmmm, how does one flake "fresh" tuna into something that appears to have been scraped out of a can onto a salad? 

27 April 2013

Meze Fresh Gourmet Burrito Bar

With only a few hours to kill in Kigali after a two week Byumba-imposed diet of chips and croquettes, my friends and I moto-ed across town in search of the famed "Chipotle-inspired burrito place". It's located between Kimihurura and Kacyiru. Not known to many moto drivers my friend told them to drop us at a well-known Chinese restaurant in the area (Great Wall Chinese) and then we just walked up the hill towards the boulevard. 

Popular among local expats, if you did not know what you were looking for when you stumbled across this restaurant you might be confused by the bright colors and traditional Rwandan art. However as soon as you approached the counter and saw the selection of fresh ingredients and multitude of options you would undoubtedly be filled with joy.

Many Americans will recognize the Chipotle-style layout (Freebirds, if you're from Texas). There's a wide selection to choose from including chicken, beef, pork, or vegetarian burritos, burrito bowls, and salads and prices are reasonable at 2,800-4000 RWF for burritos and 1000 RWF for a beer.