Idyllic brunch at historic Norfolk

Saturday May 5 2018

Cold station at The Lord Delamere Terrace

Cold station at The Lord Delamere Terrace Restaurant at the Fairmont Norfolk. PHOTO | COURTESY OF NORFOLK 

By KARI MUTU
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The Lord Delamere Terrace Restaurant at the Fairmont Norfolk, is one of the oldest establishments in Nairobi.

It dates back to 1904 colonial Kenya, and before Independence in 1963, only white patrons were allowed to dine and stay overnight at the hotel. The restaurant was named after one of the most prominent British settlers, Lord Delamere.

When I went for Sunday brunch recently the majority of guests were African.

Some years ago, the hotel put up glass windows and a grill fence around the terrace so you no longer have the open views across the street to the University of Nairobi and the Kenya National Theatre.

The décor is contemporary elegance. Tall ceilings and lots of natural light enhance the bright, airy atmosphere. On the walls are photographs from the colonial era that bring out the history of the place.

The all-you-can-eat brunch buffet brings together dishes from different countries. The selection is impressive so you will not leave hungry.

Creamy mushroom was the soup of the day set beside a large selection of home-baked breads and baguettes. I would have preferred a second option of a clear soup that does not fill you up so early in the meal.

The cold station is a seafood lover’s delight with mussels, clams, sliced fresh salmon, prawn cocktail and slipper lobster.

The Charcuterie station had delectable presentation of sliced salami, polony, sausages and ham accompanied with various pickles and preserves.

At the Greek food station, they had the quintessential Greek Salad and chicken gyro roasting on a vertical spit. I especially liked the fluffy lemon pilaf rice and an interesting cheese pie covered in filo pastry.

At every station there were vegetarian options and as a breakfast item, they had eggs benedict with spinach. The salad bar had various dishes, mixed greens, sauces and toppings.

At the well-stocked cheese station, I was most interested in the black Maasai cheese. It probably draws from the tradition among some Kenyan communities of mixing fermented milk with ash from a particular tree. The ash acts as a preservative and gives a fragrant flavour.

The Italian dishes were pizzas with different toppings and a live pasta station where guests select their sauce ingredients.

The Indian section had biriyani rice, egg curry, masala potatoes, naan and minced meat stew.

From the live cooking station, I went carnivorous with helpings of beef medallions, grilled chicken drumsticks and leg of lamb with gravy.

Live cooking station at The Lord Delamere

Live cooking station at The Lord Delamere Terrace Restaurant at the Fairmont Norfolk. PHOTO | COURTESY OF NORFOLK

In the old days, the restaurant had a bar counter at the far end of the terrace that was a popular evening spot with downtown office workers.

The bar is gone and beverages are now served at the table on order. I started off with a fresh mint and pineapple juice from the vitality juice bar.

Later in the meal I switched to a refreshing sangria made with Prosecco wine and bits of chopped fruit. Also included in the brunch menu are Bloody Mary cocktails.

The dessert table was an assortment cakes, mousse, tartlets, Tiramisu, and sliced fresh fruit. I settled on the pancake station where I indulged in freshly made crepes and chose a filling of raisins, white chocolate shavings, vanilla sauce and a scoop of ice cream on the side. I washed it down with an espresso.

A trio of jazz musicians was playing in one corner, the live music adding to the easy and relaxed atmosphere of the restaurant.

Sunday brunch is clearly a family affair as I noticed several tables with children. Throughout our long, leisurely meal, the waiters moved around quickly and inconspicuously, clearing the tables, refilling drinks and replacing cutlery. The brunch is served from noon to 4.30pm and costs Ksh3,950 ($39) per person.