I am finicky about Indian food and why shouldn’t I be. I rarely like eating Indian food in a restaurant. Imagine my surprise when I found myself eating a fantastic Indian meal and that too in a relatively unknown Indian restaurant in Nairobi.
Royal Kitchen looks less like a restaurant and more like a cafe run in a safari tent when you walk in at first. At the end of the tent are some really nice intimate corners created by leather couches. Even after we had sunk into these couches, we could see the football on the telly out of the corner of our eyes. Prideinn is a residential hotel and it is a shame that the Royal Kitchen doubles up as a coffee shop. There were the usual boisterous expats downing beers in the background and reliving their African exploits, which frankly sounded more fantasy than reality. Nairobi, for all its charm, would be a far better place without the swarming crowd of pretentious self styled Livingstones.
The menu was intriguing. It was an eclectic menu largely drawn from the Mughalai cuisine. It was also reminiscent of the food I used to eat at my grandfathers as a teenager. Finding Murg Mussalam on the menu left me very nostalgic. Unfortunately, as traditional Mughalai cooking is slowly giving way to modern India cuisine with regional influences, traditional dishes like Murg Mussalam are more and more difficult to find, even in India. To my utter amazement, the Murg Mussalam was perfect. Creamy and mild, yet delightfully moorish. We ordered some kebab, a Paneer Pasanda and a lamb biryani. The only disappointment was the biryani. A proper Biryani is a very laborious to cook and almost impossible to get right in a restaurant.
The evening turned out to be a memorable one. We left the restaurant smacking our lips and feeling extremely satisfied. What matters in a restaurant is the food. If the food is done right, I can forgive almost anything. Even football and boisterous expats!