We all have our flaws, right? Mine compile a long list, leading with my vast impatience for traffic and stupid people, and an inability to concentrate when I don’t have a supremely convincing reason to do so.
I’m not the best at long periods of concentration, and this tends to apply in most aspects of my life, including deadlines, and excluding television shows. I can concentrate on television and at the cinema, and even during long drives, but anything that doesn’t require a review afterwards or promises certain death, then you may have lost me.
This tends to also extend, adversely, to things like church services, and if the preacher goes on too long, I get tired and begin to zone out. Then I convince myself that the devil is working in me and I should fight it. Then I get hungry and get on the same side as the devil. After all, didn’t Jesus say something like you can’t preach a gospel to a hungry man?
When I was younger, my friends and I would not necessarily be required to sit through the whole service, or, we could slip out and play on the church grounds outside. When we got older and had Sh200 for disposable income, we would go next door to what was then Heron Court Hotel, and have a plate of some of the best masala fries I’ve ever tasted in Nairobi.
This custom holds true for me. Even though I think the hotel management at Heron Court, now Heron Portico, noticed there were too many children skipping church and decided to take their cheapest meal, the masala fries, off the menu. Sometimes, when there’s a service that’s overextended its welcome, I may still pass by next door and check out what is new on the menu.
After their revamp, they opened up the Mediterranean cuisine restaurant next to the pool, but on this particularly hot day, I was more in the mood for their light snacks cafe, called Bashasha.
I love the seating at Bashasha. It’s simple and straightforward, with large canopies to ward off the sun and a choice of lounge chairs or traditional chair and table seating. The service both times I’ve been there has been okay – not too quick, not ridiculously slow, or biased.
On a given Saturday afternoon, there is a steady stream of people to fill up the area, but you may get distracted, as my companion and I were, by what seemed to be a church service going on (concurrently with my own church) inside the hotel, perhaps in a conference room or something quite close to the cafe.
This can, of course, take away from the peaceful feel of the outside area, if peace and sunlight is what you were looking for, but honestly if you’re Kenyan, you’re used to the arbitrary church session popping up at random locations. Sure, the speaking in tongues was a bit unexpected and disconcerting, but we stayed put anyway.
We were both feeling the effects of whatever the Nairobi sun has decided to inflict on us, so we were only there briefly to quench our thirst, focusing on juice and water, which is all we had. I did enjoy the juice – it was freshly squeezed and not packet, as promised, which a lot of Nairobi hotels lie about.
I had a glance at the menu, which seemed reasonably priced, and the snack session as well, with little cakes and muffins. The last time (before this time) I was here, I had a spinach and cheese pie that wasn’t too bad but needed a little finessing on the pastry side. I plan to return and revisit that opinion.
All in all, if you’re looking for an out of the way place pretty close to the city centre for a small bite and a quick sunbathe, or avoiding your pastor, Bashasha is the place for you. It feels discreet without being clandestine and is simplistic without being completely thoughtless.
I really will have to go back to check out the other restaurants as well, though – maybe they brought back the masala fries?
Wondering where to get the 411 on what’s happening in and around Nairobi’s foodie scene? There’s a lot of places you could go, but here’s where we want you to be – getting the dish on the dish. Get it? We knew you would.