I have a cousin who absolutely loathes hotel restaurants.
She doesn't think they ever serve good food, and she never feels like she is getting the full restaurant experience, where you walk in and are served as actual guests of the hotel, as opposed to hotel guests whose faces the staff may be used to seeing, I assume.
I've never understood her paranoia, or her issue with hotels, because I love the entire hotel experience. I love the plush surroundings, and I love how restaurants are often nestled past the reception and rooms into little nooks and crannies that feel even more intimate than walking into a restaurant and sitting down. In a hotel, you're really walking into an experience.
That's usually how I feel when I walk into Radisson Blu, anyway. I've been there a couple of times, and I am actually thinking of sampling their spa next, since I've eaten more than my fair share of food at their restaurants.
The Chop House, as always, remains my favourite, because Chef Sam and Chef Jeff keep it so – a close favourite is the bar outside by the terrace, where I happened to watch the World Cup play out last year (I am still sad about Croatia, to be honest, even though I knew their chances were not the greatest), and often duck into when I find myself in the unfortunate conundrum of having to sit in Upper Hill traffic.
Traffic, or jam, is not even the word for what happens in Upper Hill. I don't know what the word for that monstrous, hopeless tangle is, but I do know that it helps to stop somewhere and wait it out, instead of sitting in the car trying to keep your blood pressure stable.
I've always loved how simply beautiful Radisson Blu is, and I'm always reminded of this every time I walk into it. The décor is breathtaking, every single time, and yes, I have seen it a couple of times, and yes, it still wows me.
I love a place that makes you feel special as you're walking in...and then walking out, to the Terrace, when you feel like you prefer fresh air over ambient lights and cool music.
The bar outside is spaced out and relaxed, with low, wide seats to encourage you to forget your troubles and cares, and heat lamps, should the evening demand it.
The last time I went there, I decided to try out more than just the coffees – the road was hectic and I was starving, more because of anger as opposed to not having eaten since morning.
I decided to have the burger, because absolutely anything that has mushrooms on it appeals to me, and a litre of water.
I love that hotels and restaurants are trying to do their part for the environment by doing things such as using paper straws and glass bottles for water – except for the fact that I almost always want to take the glass bottles home with me, for some reason, as if I'm running a restaurant out of my own kitchen. Radisson Blu is no different.
I was pleasantly surprised when my burger came. There was only one half of the bun, which I was about to be indignant about until I saw the fries on the side and decided that I probably shouldn't be eating this much starch, anyway – cognitive assonance and all that, when you don't get what you want but you convince yourself it is what you wanted anyway? Exactly.
The fries were so good I almost didn't get to the burger, but that burger was excellent. The meat wasn't fried and dried within an inch of its life, and honestly, the amount of bun was just right – particularly since it didn't buckle under delectable mushrooms and the dollops of ketchup I kept adding onto it.
This isn't surprising, though, because I do like burger buns, and I cannot lie.
In my opinion, the service is a touch slow, but otherwise, I love 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.