“Since it’s a Kenyan affair, Karibu.” So says my lunch host.
Before me is a plate of Kenyan dishes that I’ve carefully curated from the weekly Kenyan-themed lunch buffet at Lord Delamare Terrace at Fairmont The Norfolk.
Buffets have always been a tricky thing for me. Memories of large buffets with decorations of bright red lobster shells still haunt me from my childhood family vacations.
“Don’t forget to get seconds, you have to eat your value’s worth.” My aunt’s voice still ringing in my ear.
At buffets, a diverse selection is what is usually celebrated; and of course the fact that one can eat as much as they would like. But sometimes, you might just find me standing in between stations, with my empty plate, wondering how did they make that ice sculpture surrounded by a bathtub of shrimp or that mountain of tropical fruit with palm leaves woven into Hello Kitty characters stacked in the background. The chefs and wait staff usually leaving you to fend for yourself.
A Buffet With A Focus
But I’m happy to report, I can do a themed buffet once in a while. The more focused offering channels your taste buds through a well thought-out culinary journey.
Having proved to be a popular rendezvous since 1904, the Lord Delamere Terrace is still one of Nairobi’s beloved landmarks, its colonial-inspired architecture preserved and complemented by fresh modern expression.
There are several live stations, and displays are never cluttered with mass quantities of food that seem to never finish. Friendly unexpected conversations over what to try next with other guests seem to be the norm. The chefs are always eager to tell you a little more about the recipe or in this case, provide a free Kiswahili lesson.
“Mu-ki-mo! Yes, that’s it!”
During my last visit Githeri was part of the salad bar, as was Butter Nut, Kachumbari, Mixed Root, and Carrot & Raisin. Mukimo, Viazi Tamu, Maindi Choma, Tumbukiza, Kuku Wa Nazi, Chicken Gizzard’s, Roast Leg of Lamb, Oxtail Soup, Grilled Whole Snapper and an indulgent offering of seven desserts were also on the menu.
The decisively Kenyan selection, only available on Wednesday, will set you back KSh2,800 per person. The menu offers a glimpse into traditional Kenyan cuisine, and thankfully changes every week.
Yes, it’s true that most of these Kenyan classic dishes can be found in different eateries in Nairobi’s CBD or at your grandmother’s home on the weekends; but true to the style of The Norfolk, the classics offered at their Kenyan-themed buffet all taste like they’ve had a subtle face-lift.
When you’re attempting to cook a classic dish it’s always easy for its basic virtues to be lost; thankfully that’s not the case here. Thanks to the hotel’s super fresh and high-quality produce, even classics deserve to have noble ambitions.
On that note, I’m hoping for Matumbo (tripe) tomorrow.