Coming out of the lift on the 24th floor of Mövenpick Hotel in Westlands, Nairobi, the first place you’re drawn to is the large windows of The View.
The View is a revolving restaurant that gives you 360-degree views of Nairobi with its panoramic skyline vistas.
Last month, celebrating special occasions, my family and I decided to go to The View for lunch. Warning: If you suffer from acrophobia, this may not be the place for you.
The maitre’d was welcoming, with a bright, warm smile. She checked our reservation and showed us to our table.
Out of our group of 14, five arrived earlier than the rest. We enjoyed the scenery and pointed out familiar places in the city. We recognised buildings in Upper Hill, and as far away as Mombasa Road. On one side, as the restaurant turned, there was Karura Forest. It seemed so close from up here.
The View specialises in Swiss cuisine and is à la carte. We started off with a bread basket loaded with slices, buns and sticks and three types of butter.
Some of our group decided to have soup for starters, others went straight for the main course.
I was glad that I didn’t have a starter as the meals come in generous portions.
I opted for the Zurich style chicken. It is thin strips of chicken with mushroom in a creamy sauce, served with potato rösti.
The meal was served on a large oval plate and the chicken and mushroom came in a bowl with a flower on top. Steamed carrot, broccoli, French beans and cauliflower balanced the meal.
The potato rösti was firm and delicious. The chicken and mushroom combo was tasty and filling. I ended up sharing it.
I sampled some chicken escalope Vienna style, much like a Wiener schnitzel. The breadcrumb crust was crispy without being too dry. It was served with chips.
Others at the table had the pan-fried salmon à la grenobloise with lemon and capers, and entrecôte caféde Paris, which was a strip loin served with cafe de Paris butter, roasted cherry tomatoes and Gruyère potato gratin. Satisfied smiles all around.
And even though I barely had room for dessert, I decided to try the mousse au chocolat. The dessert is layers of dark and white chocolate mousse with biscuit in between, and topped with berries, a large strawberry and a gooseberry and served in a large glass.
The gooseberry was a nice twist as I hadn’t had one in years. The berries were fresh and of course, I couldn’t finish it in one sitting. The restaurant packed it up and I continued to enjoy it in the comfort of my living room.
I also tasted some of the caramel ice cream, which was a perfect balance of salt and sugar.
Those at the table who had started the meal with soup didn’t even bother to order dessert, so full were they.
To drink, we mostly had water and soft drinks, although the restaurant has an extensive cocktail and mocktail list.
We were so enjoying the changing view and the calm ambience, we almost overstayed our welcome. The restaurant encourages patrons to be done with lunch by 4pm so that they can set up for dinner. They were gracious enough to let us stay past 5pm.
The restaurant is popular enough that it is advisable to make a reservation. Some walk-in clients had to be turned away.
The downside was the waiter. He was slightly patronising and questioned our choices of meals as if we were not sure of what we ordered.
Mövenpick also offers meals at Baluba, the all-day dining restaurant with buffets, live cooking stations, an à la carte menu and Sunday brunch.
With so much more to see and enjoy at the hotel, it calls for a return visit.