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EATING OUT: Total rip-off for tiny portions

Saturday February 16 2019

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Whenever I decide to go for brunch on Sunday, I tend to stick within my comfort zone — I frequent the places I know will consistently have good food and ambience, lively music and a fun crowd. Perhaps this routine also has to do with my group of friends, but this past Sunday I finally managed to convince one to accompany me to The Alchemist Bar. 

This wasn’t really my first foray into Alchemist - I spent many a Friday evening there in 2017, showing expats how one should actually dance to Sauti Sol’s “Sura Yako”.

I had, however, never been there during the day, and everything looked much brighter and more sombre.

Upon sitting down, we were handed menus from the three spots at the mini-food court.

Having three menus placed before us with the waiters pacing somewhere in my periphery was a tad overwhelming and it took us longer than usual to decide what to eat.

I was drawn to the Street Bistro food truck because not only had I never eaten there before, but the food was also cheaper.

My friend requested for burger and fries, while I ordered from the healthy section (even though items in this section were a little pricier than the rest) - chicken tikka wrap.

Underneath this order, it read “salad and yoghurt sauce”. I was rather hungry and was worried it wouldn’t be filling.


When I asked the waiter if these would be sides and he nodded yes, that sold me on the choice.

As we waited for the food, I ordered for fresh juice off the menu. Both the pineapple mint and tree tomato juice had not been made, so I went for passion juice at Sh750.

It must have, however, been left out overnight because it had a fermented taste, which they must have tried to balance out with too much sugar, with little success.

Then came the food. For the amount you pay, the portions are a total rip-off. Are restaurants really still doing this to customers in 2019?

The entire dish would have cost not less that Sh30. Price it at Sh300 if you must, but no way what lay before me was priced at Sh750.

But wait, perhaps there was some secret ingredient or cooking technique behind this. Maybe the food cost that amount because it had saffron.

Spoiler alert — there was none. The chicken had an unnatural pink look, like the colour had come from an artificial food colour rather than real spices.

There were no sides — turns out the yoghurt was mixed with the chicken, and the salad was the few lettuce leaves wrapped inside the chapati.

I could have used that money to get an entire new wardrobe at Gikomba.

My friend’s portion was also really small, and she blamed me for dragging her there. To make things worse, the vibe here was dead.

We finished our food in a few bites, begrudgingly settled the bill then left to go have some real food and drinks at our usual brunch spot some 10 minutes away.