Rolf’s Place, Kitengela
There is no shortage of awesome places to eat in and around Nairobi, with new additions to the culinary scene popping up at an almost daily basis. I have written quite a bit about this in previous blog posts, notably Wining and Dining in Nairobi, and City Guide to Nairobi, and according to my blog stats, readers love those posts, so obviously, restaurants in Nairobi is a subject that attracts people’s attention.
Having been a terrible blogger lately, I finally got some inspiration back today, after visiting Rolf’s Place, in Ongata Rongai. This place does not in any way have the fame it deserves. Being an avid explorer of the restaurant scene in Nairobi throughout the past decade, even I had not heard about it until a few weeks ago.
With my parents spending the first 4 months of their retirement in Kenya, my girlfriend and I are making a point out of showing them places you won’t necessarily find in the tourist guidebooks. As a friend had warmly recommended that we check out Rolf’s Place, we googled it, called and made a reservation (which turned out to be a smart move, as we saw several guests without reservations getting turned away).
Getting there is a pretty quick and pleasant drive on a Sunday, as there isn’t too much traffic, and the road is smooth until the last few hundred meters. After branching off from Magadi Road, the road gets a bit bumpy and dusty, and then, suddenly, you are there!
Rolf’s Place lies on top of a cliff, overlooking a small river valley, so needless to say, there is a quite splendid view from the restaurant. The only way to get there is across the suspension bridge, so already there, you get a clear indication that this is going to be an experience quite out of the ordinary.
The building – a small and exquisit hotel in addition to the restaurant – has a very obvious touch of classic German architecture, mixed with some local design that inevitably involves Kitengela glass!
The owner and chef, Mr. Rolf Schmid, from Germany, is ever-present with the guests, ensuring a strong personal touch, and the characteristic German perfectionism and attention to detail.
When the waiters tell you that the Zanzibari Coconut Fish Soup is the best in Nairobi, that is no exaggeration, and skipping it would be a tragic loss for any first-time visitor. The restaurant has its own fish pond, so their fish is as fresh as it gets! The chicken à la Kiev is absolutely delicious too!
Although I was not really in the mood for dessert, an accidental look at the menu triggered my addiction to tiramisu. Fortunately, the one they have, ranks among the best I have ever tasted! Except for the fact that they were a bit slow to bring the coffee, the service was also close to perfect.
They also have hotel rooms that are not even very expensive, a nice swimming pool, a steam and a sauna. Doubtlessly something on the to-do-list for a weekend in the nearby future.