Nairobi News


A taste of china in Westlands

And finally, to round off Nairobi Restaurant Week (two weeks ago), my final stop was Taste of China in Westlands.

This was one of the places offering a 1250 menu, and I admit, I didn’t go into it feeling very hopeful.

This was for a number of reasons: 1, the two restaurants I had bothered to visit before had not impressed me much (cue Shania Twain – Jiko at The Tribe and Thai Chi at the Sarova Stanley, though in all fairness, Thai Chi had excellent service). 2, when looking for the restaurant, Google Maps indicates that it is on Rhapta Road (was this perhaps, and old location?) when in actuality it is on Westlands Road, on the complete other side of Westlands. Needless to say, we were late for our reservation.

However, after my horrific experience at Jiko, there was nowhere to go but up – I mean, all the food really had to do was show up to have beaten Jiko by a mile.

Taste of China is on the 6th floor of a plaza called VIP Plaza, opposite Graffins College. The parking is sufficient, and the elevator goes straight from the basement to the restaurant with no stops.

Conveniently displayed that we would begin to start making our choices in the lift was the menu for Nairobi Restaurant Week; by the time we sat down, we had a good idea of what we wanted to have.

Taste of China, though deceivingly small, is rather expansive, with three main seating areas (that I could see, anyway) – two on the inside, done up in different colours, and an outside balcony overlooking the city.

They have interesting oriental artifacts – a few Buddhas, of course, and makeshift dragons grasping pillars and watching the patrons.

Our waiters, though conscientious, were starved for work, it seemed; we had 5 different waiters at some point staring at our table. It was awkward. Maybe we had come early and other people had not arrived yet.

And, they were eager, but not particularly fluent. Orders were repeated several times before our soft spoken waiter got the hang of it – mostly because he for some reason could not remember our order and we could not hear his whisper.

What was nice was that the owner kept coming to find out how we were doing – a big, boisterous man who seemed to care very much that his customers were pleased. This is never a bad thing.

Other than the weird waiters, the food was great! I went for the vegetarian platter option and added a side dish of noodles – me of little faith – and was pleasantly surprised at the portions brought to us.

The tofu was delicious, as were the onion rings, the chow mein, the shrimp, beef (because going in a group has the added advantage of thieving from other people’s plates)…everything was delicious.

It was strange to me that one of the cheaper menus topped the other more expensive ones, both in delivery and experience. I wonder if the ‘bigger’ restaurants had a superiority complex that superbly wrecked their efforts and made them feeble?

Whatever it was, we were all very full after having a wonderful Taste of China.