THE DISH: A different kind of wellness

Saturday November 17 2018

The fanciest cappuccino I've had in a long while.

The fanciest cappuccino I've had in a long while. I enjoyed it at Fonda restaurant, Nairobi. PHOTO | ABIGAIL ARUNGA 

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I finally went to Fonda during the day. The last time I visited, I was there for my birthday, and it was all smoky and romantic and celebratory, so I wanted to see if it looked as good in the daytime as it did that night.

It does. And I'm kind of scared that by talking it up as much as I do, more and more people will discover it, but that's a price I'm willing to pay to chalk it up to my kind deed of the year. The year is ending, after all. Any minute now everyone is going to start tallying how much they did and where they did it, and how often, and how much that needs to change this year, and what they're going to do to lose weight, etc., etc.

The sunlit goodness downstairs at Fonda.

The sunlit goodness downstairs at Fonda restaurant in Nairobi. PHOTO | ABIGAIL ARUNGA

If you are planning to lose weight next year and you're looking to have a last hurrah with your favourite carbs, then Fonda is the place to do it – they have a new menu, and specials almost every day of the week. How did I find this out? By going on a Wednesday – which happens to have a Happy Hour for margaritas all day (or rather 15% off – same thing), and one for mojitos as well.

At my birthday, my party sat upstairs, so that we wouldn't make too much noise for the guests dining downstairs. However, now, on a loose Wednesday, I got to experience the downstairs seating area like everyone else, in the day time, no less, which I've never actually been fortunate enough to do.

Our table set-up.

Our table set-up. So simple, and yet it makes you feel so fancy. PHOTO | ABIGAIL ARUNGA


Fonda is beautiful in the day time, truly. There's a nice view on the terrace, if you're like me and like to look at cars whizzing by towards Parklands traffic (ha!). They have bright décor that looks even better when bathed in sunlight; and even though the restaurant is Mexican themed, they still hang art on the walls that is definitively Kenyan – case in point, the painting for sale of Mzee Ojwang', arguably one of Kenya's most famous actors, taking a place of pride in front of one back wall.

The back wall with the Mzee Ojwang' painting for sale at Fonda.

The back wall with the Mzee Ojwang's painting for sale at Fonda, Nairobi. PHOTO | ABIGAIL ARUNGA

I started with a coffee – a cappuccino, to be specific. That particular Wednesday was a difficult one – I had a long day, pretty full of meetings I didn't necessarily want to attend, and I had slept for maybe five hours (I know this is normal for some of you, but I'm practically Spanish in my adherence to plenty of sleep time, inclusive of siestas post-meals and sometimes, just for the sake of them). Coffee was practically calling out my name as I walked through Fonda's doors.

Once I had my fix out of the way, and was a bit more alert – of course, the nap in the car helped as well – it was time to try out what I didn't know I came for.

The margarita served at Fonda, Nairobi.

The margarita served at Fonda, Nairobi. PHOTO | ABIGAIL ARUNGA

How were the margaritas, you ask? So good, and so giant. The value for money with a Fonda margarita is immediately evident, as soon as the plus size margarita glass is placed in front of you – with a slice of pineapple dangling on the side, no less. Obviously the guys at Fonda care – they're trying to get all your calories in, make your liver work and keep you healthy, all at the same time. So considerate, yes?

I love a good labelling.

I love a good labelling. PHOTO | ABIGAIL ARUNGA

While we're still on the subject of consideration, Fonda also has a Salsa Social every Thursday, for those interested in working off said calories. For Sh1,500, inclusive of the aforementioned margarita and a snack platter, trained professionals take to the floor and take you to the floor so you can practice some moves.

Honestly, if you can't see that Fonda is practically a holistic wellness spa session with great bites thrown in, then I don't know how else to write it...


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.