Rolfs Place is a leopard cliff Mansion situated on the South east border of Nairobi National Park only 25 minutes from the Nairobi centre. Built like a medieval fortress on the edge of the cliff it overlooks.
Access over the gorge is provided by an adventures suspension bridge which can be easily accessed in a few hundred meters away through the Maasai Lodge gate. On a clear day one can appreciate a panoramic view of Mount Kilimanjaro, Mount Kenya and the adjacent Ngong hills (the scenic setting of Karen Blixen Estate).
It is beautifully secluded with a gorgeous view that would make any heart melt and anyone’s eyes water. The bridge alone uniquely sets this restaurant apart from most others in Nairobi. If to be awed by grandeur and beauty was the only reason people visited restaurants then this would be a ten out of five! Sadly it’s not.
The reviews of this particular restaurant rave and rant about its beauty but when it comes to food and service they are astonishingly disappointing. An anonymous user on Eat Out Kenya posted, “Rolf’s was a let-down. Ambiance is wonderful but service was slow and the food was disappointing. Ordered the grilled calamari and ended up with something that was fried, leathery and chewy. I pointed this out to our waitress and there was no acknowledgment, no apology and not even an effort to take it off the bill. Feels like a real rip off tantamount to throwing away your hard earned money. Sorry Rolf’s, I will not be coming back.”
Another on Trip Advisor stated, “Where to start… We had called prior and ordered our vegetarian meals. Let’s just say it was such a disappointment. Not to mention we had stated that we are allergic to mushrooms and they were still put in a salad. When we noticed we asked for fresh salad and they simply picked out the mushrooms and returned the plates. This could have been fatal. And the chef was so blasé about it!”
And yet another was fairly disappointed as she went into the detail of the no credit card policy. “Last weekend I had my mum visit from the village, so I invited her together with my sisters and boyfriend so we can have a nice Sunday afternoon lunch together. After all the hustle of going through the Menu and having everyone (we are a big family) decide for the food, I curiously asked if they accepted credit card payments. The lady waitress said no. I was really surprised and embarrassed course now I had to explain to my mum that we couldn’t have lunch there and also to my sisters -a situation I would rather avoid, it’s really strange considering how far off road you guys are and the inconvenience you caused me will not be forgotten. On the positive side, Mama enjoyed the view of the bridge!”
Though it would not be accurate to see that all people find this place a mistake as has been said one man’s poison is another man’s meat. I was able to shift through a couple of reviews and did find, “I have been to Rolf’s many times now and have loved it every time. This visit, I brought a group of about 8 people after our trip to Kitengela Glass. We know that the food takes a little time as good things often do so we made sure to get comfortable and had a wonderful time chatting with each other. We were in no rush. The servers were attentive and very polite. I ordered the cheese samosas and the pepper steak. Both were outstanding! Everyone in my group enjoyed the afternoon. I will always plan group outings for visitors that include Kitengela and Rolfs Place. The view is also breath-taking. Thank you for another fantastic visit.”
So my advice? Give it a try. It’s a worthy opportunity for you to make the call for yourself on whether or not it would be a place to return to severally. If it disappoints you on the services side, at least you know the view will be spectacularly worth it.
Shingai is an upcoming writer with a passion for words and expression through writing. She lived in Zimbabwe as a child and has traveled to over ten countries. She craves adventure and hopes to be an inspirational writer. She is currently pursuing a degree in English Literature with a minor in Psychology at Daystar University.