THE DISH: Of fair breakfasts and amusing discoveries

Wednesday March 18 2020

Breakfast at Distant Relatives EcoLodge, Kilifi. PHOTO | ABIGAIL ARUNGA


This past weekend was my beloved cousin's wedding, and because he likes beautiful things, he decided that the occasion would take place at one of the most beautiful locations nature has to offer: the beach.

Where else to promise your eternal love to the love of your life, if not in front of friends and family under a beautifully star-studded evening sky?

January, by the way, is a fantastic month for a wedding at the Coast because the temperature isn't trying to actively kill you – just a small roasting will suffice. Hehe.


For most Kenyans, when you say beach, they think of two things: Mombasa, which isn't entirely accurate, and heat. Me? I think of the food. Specifically, the seafood. Calamari. Prawn. Lobster. Crab. All the above.

One new thing I encountered on this trip that I was amused by was just how little lobster actually comes out of a whole lobster that is edible. It's too dramatic a process, if we're being honest.

You crack open a loud shell after fishing in the sea or going to the dude who did the fishing, scoop out the white flesh with a spoon – because if you do it with your fingers you might get cut – and then finally get it out, do the magic you want to do with it and dine.

It shrinks to like an eighth of the size of the original lobster. What I'm saying is, lobster is the spinach of the seafood kingdom. You never get as much as you think you're buying, and more's literally the pity...

But yes, seafood. I'm on a hunt for that good stuff, which is why at some point I hope I can convince my travelling companion to visit The Old Man and the Sea in Malindi (any recommendations? I'm taking them at this point and all weekend. My stomach's future joy is in your hands, dear reader).


While traversing this region, I came across Distant Relatives EcoLodge in Kilifi as we were looking for a place to crash and/or have breakfast.

For the record, when you see EcoLodge in the title it probably means a few things: they have dry toilets that don't flush – you do the throw sand over it, old school style, and let nature take its natural course. This may also mean that paned windows are a luxury you can't afford, particularly if you're a loud person – the tent, rooms and bandas are close together and provide more than fertile ground for a spy desirous of finding out everyone's state secrets.

That being said, the staff are lovely and my favourite settings are the poolside area, the restaurant and the group beds shared out next to the volleyball court. There's such a freeing, hippie-like feeling there, perhaps because it's airy and bright, or perhaps because of the brightly coloured knick knacks and blackboards they have lying about, done up in leso print and varied ankara fabrics.

We decided to have breakfast there instead of stay the night, and so I had two eggs, toast with butter or Blue Band (it's dependent on what's available), baked beans, a farm sausage and bacon for the win.

I thought the breakfast was fair for its price, even though I wasn't the biggest fan of the Boerewors-like farm sausage – not because it didn't taste good, but because of its salty flavour which must be perfect the day after a hangover.

I love that they have events that run through the week, like yoga, volleyball and pizza night, which are apparently quite a hit with the local crowd. And, during Happy Hour, dawas are Sh200.

I had already started to convince myself, at 9am in the morning, that it was never too early to start drinking because, really, I'm Kenyan, and it's practically tradition... Right? But I talked myself out of it to have some lemongrass tea – ironically, in the sun – with honey, and I didn't regret it. Next stop? Malindi.


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.