Monday, January 15, 2018

The Garden Brunch Cafe: Nashville Restaurant Review

What's a reunion without brunch?




Asking ourselves this, 8 of us planned to do brunch the Sunday most of my friends were in town - 17th of December. The Garden Brunch Cafe was selected as our location, and so we headed there at about 9:45 am. Unfortunately, the cafe doesn't take reservations, so there was about a 30 to 40 minute wait for us - more for those who came after us. The weird thing is that they don't seat tables of more than 6, and all had to be present for us to be seated. This meant that 4 of us got a table first - and then 2 of us had to wait an ADDITIONAL 30 minutes for the last 2 to arrive to be seated. We weren't too happy about that, but by the time we were hungry enough that we just wanted some food - a good decision, since the food was great! The ambience was chic and modern, and not too busy.

I loved these centrepieces!

We decided to get a carafe of their mimosa for the table - mimosas make everything better, and you simply can't do brunch without them. Really silly, but I got excited about the fact that they spelt 'litre' with an 're' - you can see it in greater detail in the second picture.






I decided to get the fiesta omelette, with turkey sausage, green peppers, cheddar, onions, and jalapeno peppers, and a side of pancakes to share. One of my friends ordered the same, and the others got the french toast, and the breakfast bowl - scrambled eggs with cheddar cheese, a choice of bacon, sausage or ham, served over pan roasted potatoes - with an iced coffee.



Oddly enough, there was no cutlery on the table, and we had to ask for it. In fact, the service for such a popular place was slow and substandard - hopefully, this was just a one time thing. For example, one of our friends ordered a southern pecan flavoured black coffee. This came, but we had to ask for the cream, which took a while to bring. The same friend had asked for her omelette without onions - however, it came with.

Okay, back to the food. My omelette came with toast and grits. The grits were FANTASTIC. They were perfectly creamy, and I had to pace myself in order to avoid finishing them all in one bite! The fluffy pancakes also got a 10/10 - they were perfectly fluffy, and just slightly gooey in the centre. I absolutely LOVED them.



The omelette was good too - however, it wasn't closed, and the ingredients were cut really big! So this meant I had to take a bite of peppers separately, then sausage separately, and so on.

Fiesta omelette
My friend who ordered the french toast really liked it, and rated it among her 'top 5 french toast experiences'. The only thing she would've improved was to have her eggs come with some toast.

French toast with a side of eggs
My friend who ordered the breakfast bowl wasn't as pleased with his experience. While the flavours worked well individually, he felt that they didn't mix well together - it was like a deconstructed breakfast bowl. Everything was really big and chunky, and the eggs were a huge mass. However, he loved his iced coffee, which he ordered without whipped cream and deemed perfect. With a slight chocolatey flavour, it reminded him of a kid's drink from back in the day.

Breakfast bowl
Overall verdict - good food - I'd return for the grits and pancakes alone! However, service is in definite need of improvement. 

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Bolton's Spicy Chicken and Fish: Nashville Restaurant Review

Nashville is famous for its hot chicken, and I'm definitely a fan from when I last visited. This time, my friends decided to take me to a place that does both hot chicken AND hot fish - it seemed like the perfect opportunity for a quick review.

Bolton's is a casual, hole in the wall place. It's known as a hidden gem - not one of the more popular hot chicken joints, but definitely worth it. You order up at a little window, and tell them which meat you want, with the desired spice level and sides desired. The cutlery and plates are plastic, and you seat yourselves.

Unfortunately, on the day we got there, they had run out of the other spices, and only had one level - light medium I believe? While I had wanted to try something spicier, I'm glad I didn't - this proved spicy enough for me!

I decided to get a chicken tenders plate, which came with two sides - I chose the mac and cheese, and fries. Most of my friends got the catfish, and loved it.

The chicken was AMAZING - and definitely spicy! However, the only complaint I had is that the spice is only on the outside - it would've been nice if it permeated through to the meat itself. The fries were amazing, with cajun seasoning, and the mac and cheese was absolutely PERFECT. It was peppery and creamy, and I'd love to get my hands on the recipe. The portion was more than generous, and despite the fact that I was starving when I got there, I wasn't able to finish.

Chicken tenders plate - the mac and cheese was under the paper
Verdict from my friends: the catfish was delicious! Aim low on the spices - and don't regret getting a drink.

Most of them got the green beans as a second side, which they loved.

I do intend to return when I'm next in Nashville - and maybe this time, I'll try something spicier!

Monday, January 8, 2018

Karambezi Café: Dar es Salaam Restaurant Review

Picture this - a lovely evening, the sound of waves crashing on the beach, the smell of salt in the air. Already perfect enough, but then you add in a restaurant serving excellent seafood - meet Karambezi cafe. Located right on the ocean cliff, with a gorgeous view of the ocean and the night sky, they definitely get a 10 on ambience.


We got a wine for the table - a lovely Chardonnay that went well with our selected appetiser, as well as all the seafood we got.

For starters, we all opted for the pull apart garlic bread. As they describe it, "home baked loaf served straight out of the oven covered in cheese and herb & garlic butter". Doesn't that make your mouth water?! The flavour more than lived up to the description - it was so good that we had to order more! It was like a cheesy dream - among the top 10 garlic breads I've had. Not only was it perfectly garlicky, but perfectly cheesy too. Don't be surprised if you find me there eating this as a main meal with some wine. The only thing that we weren't too pleased about was the fact that the home baked loaf wasn't as fresh as we'd have liked. 


For the mains, I got the Karambezi fish and chips - battered fillet of fish with peri peri & coconut served with garlic sauce. My colleagues got the seafood platter - lobster, prawns, calamari, line fish, Baby White Snapper, crab claws and other delicacies served with 3 sauces; the classic fish and chips - battered fillet of fish served with homemade tartar sauce; and the king prawns - grilled King prawns served with spicy cajun.

I really liked my fish and chips - however, the portion was HUGE and I wasn't able to finish. A certain garlic bread may have been to blame. The batter was thick and flavourful, and when it became clear that I wasn't going to be able to finish, I took to eating just the batter with the garlic sauce, and the tarter sauce, which I'd ordered as an extra.

Verdicts from my colleagues - quoted verbatim.

Seafood platter: GOOD. NICE! 

Seafood platter: The prawns were rubbery, but the platter was impressive. I liked the Tilapia best. The crab was perfectly done - however, it would've been nice to get a hammer.

Classic fish and chips: Well, in the end - I got the fish and chips that I wanted. (Strangely poetic, and we've used this to express our satisfaction in multiple other contexts now!) 

King prawns: Portions were too big. Big prawns aren't usually nice prawns. It was meant to be cajun, but just had a little sprinkle of paprika. 

Seafood platter

Karambezi cafe fish and chips
Overall verdict? I loved the place! I'd love to visit in the daytime, as I bet the view is just GORGEOUS. Have you been? What did you think?

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Salt: Dar es Salaam Restaurant Review

Recently, I've been spending a bit of time in Dar es Salaam. I like the city - it's a sleepier, quieter version of Nairobi. Of course, there's no way I could be in a new city without doing a restaurant review, so I seized the opportunity one evening when we'd ventured out for dinner. Interestingly, we hadn't quite planned to go to Salt - we were actually planning to go to a Thai restaurant nearby. However, when we got there at around 8:00 pm, they were already closing (despite it not yet being closing hours). A little weird - and a little early to close for dinner, we thought! One of my colleagues had been to Salt before, and since it was in the same complex, we walked over. Located in Oyster Bay, an area close to the beach and known for good restaurants, we were happy enough to make the switch.



The decor of the restaurant was really cool. Rustic, eclectic - British - and easily adaptable to a casual afternoon or a more dressy dinner. It sounds weird, given that Dar es Salaam is so hot, but I think that a fireplace would go really well with the theme! Not that they'd need to use it, of course.






After perusing the menu, we ordered a bottle of wine for the table. This was the strange part - we ordered the Spier Chenin Blanc, but were told they didn't have it, and were offered the Spier Sauvignon Blanc. A few moments later, we were offered the Chenin Blanc - seems as though the waiter was a little confused! 

We decided to get a few starters before the main meal, which turned out to be a great decision - their starters were amazing, and easily eclipsed the entrees! I ordered the beer battered calamari, while my colleagues got the baked baby brie with garlic bread, the Greek salad, and the prawn cocktail. 

Beer battered calamari
The calamari was amazing - definitely an A+ from me! It was fresh, and flavourful, and the batter was light and crispy. The accompanying sauce was sweet and spicy, and perfectly complemented the dish. The baked brie was "heaven", according to the colleague who ordered it. The Greek salad was proclaimed to be among the top 3 salads they'd tried. However, the prawn cocktail proved to be overwhelmingly rich, and wasn't as enjoyable. 

For the mains, I ordered chicken skewers which came with chips and three sauces, and my colleagues got the pork chops and the Zanzibari curry. 

Zanzibari curry

Pork chops

Chicken skewers
We all agreed that the main dishes were good, but couldn't live up to the starters. My chicken skewers were slightly dry and underflavoured - however, the peanut and mint sauces were amazing. I'm not really a salad person, but I really liked the one they made - the dressing was great! Apart from the tomatoes and black olives, I ate it all. The chips were amazing - perfectly cut, not overly oily, and I could've easily kept eating them. 

The apples gave the pork chops a nice flavour, and my colleague who ordered the curry was impressed with the presentation -  they served it IN a coconut. This also ensured that the flavour infused well into the prawns. While it was a Zanzibari curry, interestingly enough, it almost tasted Creole! 

For dessert, although we were all stuffed by this point, my colleagues decided to order the pecan pie, and we snuck some bites of this. 


Oh. My. Goodness. I wasn't quite expecting such amazing pecan pie, but this was a surprise I was very happy about! It was absolutely delicious, and I can easily say it might be the best pecan pie I've ever had. I'll definitely be returning for it!

Overall verdict? Nice restaurant - a little room for improvement as far as entrees and service goes, but excellent ambience, location, appetisers and dessert!

Have you been to Salt? What did you think? I'd love to hear your opinions! 

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Happy New Year!


I made no secret of my love-hate relationship with 2017. Towards the end of the year, I felt that the global energy, if such a thing exists, had turned from positive to negative, and there was a lot of frustration, unhappiness and anger all around - one only has to look at the news and social media over the past few months to confirm this! While for me, personally, it was a year full of learning and new challenges, and great memories I'll treasure, I'm sure you'll understand why I'm so excited for 2018! It's only been a few days, but it already feels like it'll be a great, game-changing year. Maybe I'm still energised from an amazing, amazing vacation (more on that in later blog posts), but I have a feeling this will last. Plus, it's my sixth year as the Kenyan Nomad, so that'll be fun to celebrate!

I can't start off the years without saying a huge thank you to all of you! When I first started this blog, I had no idea how much it would grow. 2017 was a year where my readership was the highest it's ever been - and I loved getting feedback from people! To all those of you who took the time to write me, or to chat to me at events, and just tell me that you enjoyed reading my work - it meant a lot! I had people who didn't know me come up to me and let me know that they love the Kenyan Nomad. You can bet that was amazing to hear! I like to keep feedback channels open, so I'd like to invite you all to fill out this form: https://goo.gl/forms/Q0NSdOKWRvjqcZj82

It's not long at all, and gives me a chance to learn about what you liked, or didn't like, and what you'd like me to write about going forward.

Once again - thank you all, and I wish you a very happy and successful 2018! Keep an eye out for some upcoming posts; I managed to gather some great content in December!

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