And by “you” I mean @confusedconfuser who commented on a blog post I wrote saying she’d live vicariously through my posts about Nairobi Restaurant Week (P.S. if you’re reading now, thanks for reading all the way from Seychelles! 🙂 ). But I also mean “you” in the broader sense… All of you guys who are reading this right now. Thanks for following along!
Let me start by saying I’ve had a seriously rough couple of weeks. At the time of dining at Larder, the camera on my phone had broken (if you’re as addicted to Snapchat as I am you’ll feel my pain) and I was coming down with what I was soon to find out would be one of the worst colds I have experienced in recent history. BUT I had told Jacquie we would do the review and best believe I was going to hold true on that promise. Plus, you can’t be a food blogger and not blog about one of the biggest culinary events in Nairobi, right??
Larder is located in the new hotel in Upper Hill, Radisson Blu. It’s one of several fine dining restaurants in this extension of the Radisson Blu hotel chains. I had been to Radisson Blu on one other occasion before NRW and I was immediately struck by their decor. It’s modern and chic while being inviting and warm. There were chandeliers hanging from the high ceilings and rooms that looked like they were plucked right out of BoConcept’s look book with accents of African design and art. The Larder was no different.
Beautiful golden light lit the quiet dining room as Jacquie and I were lead to our table. I almost always study menus before I get to restaurants because I’m a really indecisive orderer and dislike being rushed into my decision process. I ordered the Malindi Seafood Salad to start, the Local Aged Morendat Rib-Eye Steak for my mains and the Mousse for dessert.
Our meal started with an amuse bouche. A single-bite dish that’s supposed to whet your appetite for the meal to come. The amuse bouche was a Chinese roast duck with teriyaki glaze and pickled sprouts, a prawn popper, and a brioche bun. The duck was lightly seasoned but they teriyaki glaze and pickled sprouts brought the punch of much needed flavour. This was probably one of my favourite dishes of the evening. I didn’t care much for the prawn popper or the brioche but the duck was delicious.
I’m not entirely sure what I expected from the seafood salad but the dish that was placed in front of me was a bed of lettuce and rocket with a piece of shrimp, scallop, fish and a small slice of avocado in a balsamic glaze.
The dish was light and bright with a zesty balsamic glaze. However the fish was overcooked and all of the seafood tasted like it had been cooked in the morning and stored in the fridge. I wish it had more freshness and seafood because this could have been a killer appetizer. That said, I still think it was the best appetizer option on the menu.
After our starters, we were served a Amarula and Kenyan sweet chai granita. This was another highlight of the meal. Amarula is usually too thick, creamy and sweet for me but mixing it with a spiced chai and blended ice made it a well balanced drink. I could have easily drank more than one or would have loved to see it turned into a gelato.
My only reservation was the sticks of fried and sugared spaghetti. They weren’t edible and didn’t add anything to the dish. As you know, I’m not a fan of putting things in food that don’t really have any use.
The courses were well paced, about 10 minutes between each course. The steak came out accompanied by chips, thick-cut broccoli, and a bernaise sauce.
I had asked for my steak to be medium in temperature and originally it came out well done. When I let my waitress know, she quickly took the steak back to the kitchen and returned with a beautiful medium steak.
The steak was lightly seasoned and a really nice cut of meat. It was soft under the knife and tasted good. The chips were unfortunately too oily, they left a grease coating in my mouth and I was unable to eat them. The broccoli was nice too, but nothing to write home about. Overall I was a little underwhelmed by my steak entree. If I could do it again, I’d opt for the Salmon Papillote.
Last but certainly not least came the dessert. I prefer when NRW restaurants give you the opportunity to choose your dessert but I was looking forward to trying the mousse.
The menu said it was a mint and basil mousse but I mostly tasted chocolate. The lemon jelly on the side of the plate was a nice citrus contrast to the creamy and rich mousse. On the bottom of the mouse lay on top of a bed of toasted black sesame seeds which had a bit of a burnt flavour. It was initially a little surprising but after a few bites I really enjoyed the pairing of the sesame seeds with the mousse.
Would I go back to Larder? Probably. I’d love to sit out on their patio as the sun goes down with some good friends and a cold drink. Maybe I’ll give their food a second chance, some of the courses were really enjoyable. Plus, they’re still a relatively new establishment and I feel I should grant them a month or two to get comfortable and find their ‘groove’.
I’ve visited a few restaurants since Larder for NRW and I’m not done yet! Where have you guys gone? Any suggestions for the last few days?
All photos by J. Mwai Photography