Despite the challenges of last year, the Haru Japanese Restaurant in Nairobi still managed to clinch the Tripadvisor's Travellers’ Choice Award 2020, in the category of "Top 10 per cent of restaurants worldwide."
I was excited to dine there once again after a long hiatus. When we arrived, the staff were all in masks, temperature checks were carried out at the entrance and I noticed several hand sanitiser stations around the restaurant. We chose a table at the terrace.
Dining as a family gave us an opportunity to sample and share several dishes from the extensive menu. Generally, the meals were well flavoured but not overly spicy, which made it easy for young children to enjoy much of what was on offer. We started off with a Wakame salad, which looks like a cold soup but is actually seaweed and vegetables in a mildly-flavoured sauce.
Next was a tuna tataki, a thinly sliced and lightly pan-seared tuna sashimi coated with a crust of sesame seeds. It was beautifully plated with avocado wedges and shredded lettuce. It was my first time trying it and is now an instant favourite.
On another visit I would like to try the sushi and sashimi platters. For a cold evening, I would recommend a bowl of hot miso seaweed soup to warm you up.
One of the highlights of the Haru menu is the sushi — bite-sized pieces of raw fish seafood or vegetables wrapped in sticky rice and seaweed. The California roll of crab meat was a hit with the children as was the dynamite roll and we also ordered a vegetarian avocado sushi. I discovered that the California roll originated from the US, not Japan, but now features in many restaurants around the world. It has a filling of prawns and avocado.
We ordered some of our favourite main dishes such as the deep-fried prawns tempura and grilled squid with teriyaki sauce.
Although Haru styles itself as a sushi bar, they also have a good selection of teppanyaki (grilled cuisine) with different kinds of meat, seafood or a tofu option for vegetarians. For a more continental style meal you could try salmon steak or a red snapper steak with rice, vegetables and an avocado sauce. A side of plain white rice nicely complimented all the variety of flavours in the main dishes.
Part of the cooking at Haru is done at live cooking station and the children enjoyed watching the chefs at work. You can also book a table with teppanyaki hot plates and watch your meal cooked in front of you.
We ended our meal with an easy dessert of ice cream in assorted flavours. If you are not familiar with Japanese cuisine, the staff is very helpful.