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THE DISH: How I blew my week's budget on snacks

Tuesday February 19 2019

Food served at Radisson Blu, Nairobi.

Chips, chicken wings, salad and a club sandwich served at Radisson Blu, Nairobi. PHOTO | ABIGAIL ARUNGA 

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I like to go back to my regular spots – haunts, if you will -, especially if they've only failed me once or twice before. I'm a big fan of maintaining loyalties.

I'm one of those people who likes to go where I'm welcomed, where I know the wait staff, where they know my drink, where I can call up the manager, ha, if something goes wrong.

Radisson Blu isn't one of those places – yet – but I do go by when I have the chance and the money to do so. Because, of course, Radisson isn't one of those places to go to when you have a Sh400 budget.

The reason I ended up at Radisson this day was because I had volunteered to take a friend of mine to NTSA while I waited to meet a different friend. After dropping her unexpectedly quickly, because of the lack of traffic, I decided to kill time while reading my current tome, Children of Blood and Bone, at the Humidor.

The chicken wings.

The underwhelming chicken wings. PHOTO | ABIGAIL ARUNGA

I like the outside seating, and I love the greenery that one can look down on when you're sitting on that side of the hotel. I figured I had about Sh1,000 to spare (it wasn't really, I made a choice and now I'm not eating anywhere expensive for the rest of the week) and a bit of time to kill, so there I went.

Security at Radisson is pretty intense, which is comforting to me, and to many other Kenyans, I'm sure, in the wake of several security threats and terrorist attacks.

They scan your car, both physically and electronically, and your car is scanned when you get out of the car to be scanned as well. It is assuring that they are at least trying to be conscientious, even before these attacks happened as well.


I parked and walked to the stairs near the basement parking to get to the ground floor/reception area, then went to sit outside.

Service was quick that day, as I recall, and I was shortly given a menu to look at to figure out how my budget was going to look. It wasn't looking good. Since I wasn't eating, I thought I'd have a quick drink as I waited.

The seating area at Humidor Bar inside Radisson Blu, Nairobi.

The seating area at Humidor Bar inside Radisson Blu, Nairobi. PHOTO | ABIGAIL ARUNGA

As I have said several times before, I have an attachment to all things Cuban, so I went for the classic Havana Club Rum (three years) and Coke. This fit into my budget because the rum was Sh100 bob for every year, and the Coke was Sh400. Yes, I was just as surprised as you to hear that the rum cost less than the Coke.

Then, alas, I knocked over the Coke. At least Sh200 worth, I tell you. My heart and budget were breaking with those pieces. Of course, after seeing that happen, I needed some comfort food, right? I had just lost Sh200!

So I ordered a club sandwich, which set me back about Sh1,100 – and this was on the snacks menu, even, not the main menu (they don't have a main menu out there as it is more of a terrace, a place to relax, with bar bites, as opposed to anything official).

Coke cost more than rum at Humidor Bar inside Radisson Blu, Nairobi.

Coke cost more than rum at Humidor Bar inside Radisson Blu, Nairobi. PHOTO | ABIGAIL ARUNGA

And then, of course, I had to buy another Coke because they were going to charge me for the first one anyway, and I needed something to finish up my rum with. Then I finished my rum, and there was so much Coke, and so I thought, I should probably get some more rum to finish the Coke with...

The club sandwich came right as my friend was finished at NTSA, and so she walked over and had chicken wings. The chicken wings, I have to say, were quite underwhelming. My club sandwich was good, though, even for its pricing, as were my rums and cokes. And that, dear reader, is how my entire budget for last week was blown on what was supposed to be a relaxed afternoon in waiting…


Wondering where to get the 411 on what's happening in and around Nairobi's foodie scene? There's a lot of places you could go, but here's where we want you to be – getting the dish on the dish. Get it? We knew you would.