I love food. I love to host dinner parties, cook for friends, dine out or just lay on my sofa staring at the TV with a takeaway Chinese and a smile.
This has not done my waistline any favours, but it has allowed me to sample quite a bit of what Nairobi has to offer. What I tend to find myself doing however is checking out the newer places that spring up instead of playing catch up.
So when I received an invitation to indulge in Sunday Brunch at the Ole Sereni this past weekend – I jumped at it. It had always been on the periphery of my mind, but at 4,000 Ksh a plate, there always seemed to be a less expensive way to while away a Sunday afternoon.
This past Sunday was The Big Brunch experience – two for one on cocktails, glasses and bottles of the amazing GH Mumm champagne – jokingly referred to as the President’s champagne, given this viral image earlier this year:
— Damien Souchet (@DamienSouchetKE) March 22, 2016
I grabbed a few friends and popped in a little after 2pm. Despite the pricing, Ole Sereni’s Big Five restaurant was bustling – whether those at brunch were hotel guests or walk-ins, I wouldn’t know. Neither would I know how many were influenced by the Big Brunch offer itself. Either way, the hotel seems to be doing just fine.
I’m not a huge fan of a buffet table in general – cooking numerous dishes for large numbers tends to disassociate a chef from his or her food. Ole Sereni’s Sunday Brunch tends to revolve around a variety of local and continental cuisines each week (Italian, Asian etc) coupled with your typical salad bar, grill and dessert trays. Because we had stepped out for The Big Brunch, we were super indulgent with a couple of bottles of GH Mumm.
One bottle sells at the extraordinary price of 15,000 Ksh at this particular spot – so perhaps not an every week indulgence. But it turned what would have been quite an ordinary meal into something special. Their freshly squeezed juices were one of our favourite highlights! The minty pineade is probably the best I have had in a long while. Their dessert offerings were also a high point. I found the outdoor grill was a little underwhelming – perhaps we caught them at a busy time, but most of the meats had not been replenished by the time we got there – I picked up a couple of pieces of jerk-style chicken and was on my way.
Ole Sereni is noted for being the only hotel in Nairobi with an unhindered view of the National Park. The Big Five restaurant and its adjoining bar “The Waterhole” are great places to spend a few hours with a couple drinks – it’s a shame that the soon to come Standard Gauge Railway is going to spoil the view and more importantly ruin the habitat of our wildlife.
With the right company, Ole Sereni’s Sunday Brunch can be a relaxing way to cap off a weekend – if it is within your price point. They do however need to improve on some of their more dour buffet options: more seafood, more flavour and perhaps not as many options.
I doubt I’d return for it specifically, but I would return for a sundowner on the terrace: the views and the breeze definitely make that aspect of it an appealing choice in Nairobi’s crowded market.