Smack in the middle of the ground floor of Westgate Mall in Westlands, Nairobi, is the Grill Shack.
Coming in from Dubai, the restaurant has opened its first outlet in Africa here.
Being in the middle of the mall, one can pop in for a quick snack or sit down for a three course dinner.
General manager Wesley Baleta said they had more people coming to the restaurant than envisioned in the two week’s that it had been open.
The walls are decorated with 70s retro posters, and you can sit at a booth — seats six — or at a table.
At their grand opening last week, we sampled some of the restaurant's meaty delights, accompaniments and dessert.
For starters there were periperi prawns, battered and fried. These were deliciously spicy, raising our expectations for the rest of the offerings.
The restaurant also offers Greek, classic and garden salads.
We then had the cheetos chicken, which is crumbed and fried chicken fillets served with buttermilk ranch sauce.
Crunchy on the outside and tender in the middle, our table of six asked for a second serving. The ranch sauce was the perfect accompaniment.
Our second chicken dish was the speciality skewer, with mashed potatoes, mukimo and a lemon wedge.
The chicken pieces were skewered with mixed peppers and onions, and flame grilled. The lemon gave the chicken a tangy twist.
Pork ribs were next on the table, said to have been slow-cooked in barbeque sauce and finished on a flaming hot char grill.
So tender were they, the meat fell off the bones. I would have preferred a little more bite to them, and stronger flavours. For those who don't eat pork, there was the option of beef short ribs.
The sizzling Texas steak came soon after. The sirloin was cooked medium, and served with a topping of onions and peppers.
The chefs seem to be playing it safe with the flavouring. The restaurant could offer spicier options, like they do at many Indian restaurants.
Slider burgers were up next, and by this time we were almost full. Juicy and small, they were finished with just a few bites.
For dessert, we had the delectable sticky toffee pudding. On this one, the chefs went all out.
Warm pudding and thick syrup, topped with vanilla ice-cream made for the perfect ending to the meal. Each mouthful was pure decadence, and had to be savoured slowly.
And to drink, you could make your own sangria with the red and white wine at each table.
Juices and soft drinks were also available. Halfway through the meal, we were served with a strong ginger drink, that came with a stick of sugarcane to stir it with.
Service at the Grilll Shack was a bit slow. I could put it down to being overwhelmed by a full house, but it could improve. At some points in the evening, the waiters seemed to be overwhelmed.
The ambience was lively; a live band entertained us all evening, with hits from all over the world. They even got some of the guests dancing!
I do hope to go back and try out some of the other dishes, and to have some more sticky toffee pudding that’s calling out my name.