Exploring Kenya’s Coast: Pontoon in Nyali

Pontoon Restaurant and Bar Lounge - lobster seafood casserole photographed by Susan Wong 2012

Named after the floating bridge that once linked Mombasa Island to the Kenyan mainland, Pontoon Restaurant and Bar Lounge, located along the popular Links Road, where in the past few years have seen a boom in restaurants and bars, is a trendy social meet-up spot in the Nyali neighbourhood of Mombasa.

Once the family home of one of the proprietors of Pontoon, the expansive villa evokes an unmistakable homely vibe.  Mature gardens provide shade from the strong Mombasa sun.  The sounds of the water feature and the glistening pool remind you that it’s ok to take a breather, relax.  The modest terrace opens up into the newest addition, a second bar, overlooking the pool.  Bright orange linens and umbrellas keeps things cheerful.  The dining room is simply decorated, reminding you that the Pontoon crowd probably spends most of their time outside, by the pool and underneath the clear blue skies.

Pontoon Restaurant and Bar Lounge is located on Links Rd. in Nyali, Mombasa. According to Eat Out Kenya, the average meal at Pontoon costs Sh 2,000. For location details, menu and reservations – make sure you check out here.  Special thanks to Eat Out Coast.

Opened just a little under two years, Pontoon serves a mix of continental and African dishes.  Some of its popular dishes include the “Pontoon Prawns” and “Pan-fried Mutton with Ugali.”  Pontoon also offers more than 15 pizza options, starting from Sh 500.  Curries, steaks, seafood and pasta – calling their menu massive is a bit of an understatement – but with plans to roll-out a new one in a couple of weeks, I’d be keen to see if Pontoon’s menu will be more focused on what they already do incredibly well – African specialties and seafood – instead of a little bit of everything.

Lifestyle’s favourite was the Seafood Casserole and Garlic lobster.  Calamari, prawns and fresh crab meat sautéed with butter and tossed with herbs was executed deliciously, with all of the flavours of individual ingredients sharing the spotlight.

Our waiter was very attentive and was able to make good suggestions.  However, the Lifestyle team has yet to visit during Pontoon’s peak hours, so hopefully the service is consistent.

Served shaken or stirred, Pontoon’s resident barman Patrick, suggests social drinkers should sample the “Pontoon Special.”  A slightly milky and smooth concoction of coconut milk, rum, Malibu and pineapple juice – Patrick says it’s the best way to conclude a day of work.

Bed & Breakfast

Pontoon’s has also launched their onsite Bed & Breakfast, offering 13 airy and bright rooms, some with kitchenettes.   Rooms begin at Sh 5,000 and on the high-end, a 2 bedroom suite with kitchen will set you back Sh 7,000 per night.

Pontoon Restaurant and Bar Lounge - main photographed by Susan Wong 2012

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