Lacking in street presence with tiny signage, the bright blue gate of Caribea Bar & Restaurant makes up for its lack of visibility and is the only thing that sets this property apart from the others. Set on two acres in the middle of the busy Kilimani neighbourhood in Nairobi, driving beyond the gates reveals a charming property with a beautiful bungalow, and beyond where the expansive garden has been transformed into the home of many spacious Karoga bandas (ideal for your next fun group gathering).
The Capital Lifestyle team is swiftly led to a spacious table in a tranquil corner away from the outdoor bar. Considering the extensive distance the staff have to cover on the two acre property, Caribea’s service was swift and undeviating.
With a menu that read like the answer to an Indian-cuisine pilgrim’s prayers, showing promise, we started off with Paneer Tikka (Sh 650), marinated cottage cheese grilled in the Tandoor, which was deliciously moist with a slight spongy texture. Elsewhere on the menu, “Malai” suggests that the meat has been sitting in a creamy marinade, ensuring that once grilled, the Boneless Malai Chicken (Sh 650) will remain juicy and tender. Disappointed with dry and unflavourful grilled cubes of chicken, we moved on to the Mutton Seekh Kebab (Sh 650), which was also dry – perhaps not enough fat in the mince mutton to render over the fire. The Fish Tikka (Sh 650) was delicate and flavourful, and for the portion, definitely worth the money.
From the thrilling advice of regulars in the neighbourhood, sampling Pepper Chicken Wings (Sh 600) and Fish Bhajias (Sh 650) were a must. Perhaps my expectations of the “house special” wings were too high. The Capital Lifestyle team didn’t doubt the kitchen’s ability and commitment, but we were far from being wowed by the blackened wings from a blanket of black pepper and the numbing saltiness of the soya sauce. No amount of mint yoghurt or tamarind sauce could put out the fire in our mouths – definitely not for everyone. The fish fritters on the other hand were deep-fried and its batter was light, crispy and lightly spiced – a definite delight to munch on.
Best of all: the Cheese Naan (Sh 250) was incredibly soft on the inside, its exterior was crispy and slightly smoky-flavoured, its thickness was perfect and not paper-thin, chewy, the cheese in between melted into our mouths, and the naan wasn’t greasy like pizza dough – I dream of my next visit just for this.
Caribea’s spacious property, affordable prices and swift service may be enough to convince Lifestyle for another visit. If not, the delicious Chesse Naan certainly will.
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