Alan Bobbe’s Bistro: Vintage French in Nairobi

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Alan Bobbe's Bistro in Nairobi Kenya photographed Susan Wong 2012 - crepe suzette

Nairobi’s Alan Bobbe’s Bistro first opened in 1962 and was an instant success. Its menu has always featured classic French dishes, and more than fifty years later, the modest Bistro is still going strong with its distinctive selection of French cuisine.

The glamour of the Bistro’s past when it was still located on Riverside Drive and attracted international celebrities like Bing Crosby, Jacky Kennedy, Sydney Pollack and even Barack Obama – is in the distant past. Now located poolside in the tranquil but secluded Andrews Apartments at the end of Rhapta Road, the Bistro has the difficult task of resurrecting the same buzz that once surrounded Alan Bobbe’s.

Playing homage to classical French Cuisine, several dishes on the charming chalkboard menu may seem old-fashioned to some, but when executed well, dishes like Confit de Canard (Duck Confit) is almost the exclamation mark to a centuries’ old school of gastronomy. Vintage never goes out of style, but be prepared for salty mouthfuls of duck.

Slowly poaching duck in its own juices and fat, Duck Confit, is a centuries-old way of preserving meat and also preparing an undoubtedly delicious dish. Cured with salt and some herbs, the simple flavours are infused into the tender meat that has been slowly poached for hours. Crispy and golden, the once fatty skin is a joy to munch on!

Another Capital Lifestyle Magazine must-try would be the Crêpe Suzette. Paper-thin pancakes, skilfully folded into quarters drizzled with a syrupy liqueur sauce highlighted with tangy citrus zests, and paired with a generous scoop of Vanilla Ice Cream – the perfect accompaniment to an afternoon by the pool.

The staff was extremely pleasant and had a reassuring eloquence that not all restaurants have in Nairobi. They were not only able to make educated suggestions, but also explained the menu in mouth-watering ways.

Another reason why you should visit Alan Bobbe’s is for the French Bakery. With fresh baguettes and flaky croissants baked daily, don’t blame us if you start developing a pastry-a-day addiction.

Here’s a little more about the food that we sampled…



FoodBlog: Photo Credits Susan Wong 2012 © All rights reserved.

Alan Bobbe's Bistro in Nairobi Kenya photographed Susan Wong 2012 - menu
Alan Bobbe's Bistro in Nairobi Kenya photographed Susan Wong 2012 - bcaon spinach salad
Spinach Bacon Salad: The greens were swimming in olive oil during our visit, but otherwise a good snack or starter.


Alan Bobbe's Bistro in Nairobi Kenya photographed Susan Wong 2012 - crab fritter closeup
Crab Fritters: If you’re looking for Crab Cakes, these are definitely the better choice. Minus the usual fillers in Crab Cakes, these Fritters are all crab! Juicy strands of crab meat fried until crispy on the outside. Every fritter is a ball of the ocean’s natural sweetness.


Alan Bobbe's Bistro in Nairobi Kenya photographed Susan Wong 2012 - pumpkin soup
This rich and thick soup was perfectly creamy with the right consistency – just thick enough to coat the back of your spoon. I would’ve preferred stronger flavours of spices like nutmeg to bring out the natural sweetness of the pumpkin. One word – soulful.

Alan Bobbe's Bistro in Nairobi Kenya photographed Susan Wong 2012 - tomato soup
Tomato Soup was also very good with just enough tanginess. The croutons were deliciously memorable.


Alan Bobbe's Bistro in Nairobi Kenya photographed Susan Wong 2012 -smoke salmon salad
Smoked Norwegian Salmon – exactly what you expect.


Alan Bobbe's Bistro in Nairobi Kenya photographed Susan Wong 2012 - duck confit
Confit de Canard – slowly poached duck legs in it’s own juices


Alan Bobbe's Bistro in Nairobi Kenya photographed Susan Wong 2012 - chicken du vin
Coq au Vin – Slowly braised chicken in a red wine sauce: Tasted a bit too boozy for me, but perhaps the alcohol in the sauce hadn’t been cooked out enough. The meat was very tender and juicy.


Alan Bobbe's Bistro in Nairobi Kenya photographed Susan Wong 2012 - creme brulee
Crème Brûlée – Loved the interactive touch when the sugar was caramelized at the table. Had a good taste, but am wondering why my spoon was covered with oil? Some recipes call for a couple of tablespoons of oil, but personally, would rather minimize that since it prevents your taste buds from enjoying the delicate flavours of the custard.


For location details, prices and how you can book online – make sure you check out Eat Out Kenya! Check it out now!
http://www.eatout.co.ke/alanbobbes-p/alanbobbesbistro.htm




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SUSAN WONG

Susan Wong is the Editor of Capital Lifestyle, a resident photographer, an award-winning journalist, radio presenter, full-time adventurer, long-time admirer of anything edible, and a spicy food athlete at Capital FM.

  • Pankaj

    Terrible. Went there for dinner last night and there was a complete lack of service and extremely poor food. 

  • Paul

    What a great “blast from the past”. I remember going there for lunch most week days with my dad in the early seventies. It was located at the time in the Caltex house building across from Suzette’s Hairdressing Salon. Alan and my dad were good friends and he would often come and sit with us. Thanks Susan Wong for that wonderful memory of my Dad…. I am now sitting here sobbing my eyes out, as all the great memories come flooding back.

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