For anybody who grew up in the area The Heron now renamed Heron Portico had a checked past. It was a hotel of ill repute because of the ladies of the night who flocked there in the evenings to look for business from tourists. It was not a hotel where “decent” people were to be seen coming from.
That has all changed since Heron hired an international hotel management company (Sarovar Hotels & Resorts) to help with the re-branding and bringing it to world class standards. It is now one of Nairobi’s finest 4 star Business hotels. One of the challenges of such a hotel is changing the brand perception of the hotel as a great place to stay or eat.
Last week Shiko and I went there to eat some lunch, check out the place and interview the chef.
For a starter we had the spiced Caesar salad. This is a salad which has lettuce, chicken and bacon strips, cheese, a poached egg, anchovy fillets, roasted bread, garlic, some chillies, sauce and sprinkled with some lemon juice. The recipe is here.
The salad was slightly spiced and it is not the type that requires you to ask for water. It was delicious, the chicken and bacon were perfect and the toasted cubed bread complimented it. I am one of those people who usually add salt to every meal but it was perfectly salted. For me the salad is actually a meal in itself and I think if you want to have a main meal then you should share the starter. I did not eat the poached egg and what I would urge you if you have issues with eggs you should tell the waiter early so that they exclude it from the salad.
The main course was the traditional fish masala. I have to state that I did not do this justice to this dish as I was already full from the salad. It was delicious though but I just sampled the rice. The fish fillet was well cooked and the masala sauce was just perfect. The spices were not overwhelming they blended in to create a delicious dish. For me the tomato was a garnish because I was too full and needed space for dessert. The potatoes with the fish went very well.
Desserts are my favourite part of a meal. I have a sweet tooth and so I always look forward to dessert. We had Affogato dessert which is made up of vanilla ice cream, 1 shot of hot espresso coffee, some whipped cream and chocolate shavings. It is one of those desserts that you cannot take your time as it will melt if you don’t eat it immediately because it has some hot coffee. If you like bitter sweet desserts then this is the perfect dessert for you.
The food is excellent and I would recommend the salad especially if you don’t want a heavy meal.
The spiced chicken salad cost 850/-
Traditional fish Masala cost 1400/-
Affogato desserts cost 400/-(Italian)
The Mdalasini restaurant serves both buffet and al carte menu so you choose what you want to eat. This is the hotel’s main restaurant and there is a bar next to it.
The hotel has a unique coastal décor. I love the fact that they built the Casbah Lounge bar around a tree instead of bringing it down. There is use of natural lighting. The Casbah is very colorful with its earthly hues of browns, reds and greys. Sirocco Aqua Bar – Sirocco is the restaurant by the pool with an ideal setting for a romantic dinner under the star-lit skies. Bashasha which means happiness is an Arabic style coffee shop offering an all-day dining experience with a wide selection of International Cuisine.
The food is great and I would recommend you check it out. The service was abit slow especially clearing our dishes from the table and ordering drinks so I think they should work on that.