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Kenya’s must-try dining spots

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By WANGUI MAINA

Posted  Thursday, November 29  2012 at  17:04

In Summary

  • The increased number of expatriates in the country, Kenyans returning from the west and locals who can afford to travel around the world and experience different tastes out there - are also major drivers to the growth in this segment of the hospitality industry.
  • Because of this growing need for fine dining, new restaurants catering to this growing market, are fast coming up and offering good service are thriving and expanding in the market.

There was a time when eating out in Kenya was limited to the local nyama choma joint or for those who could afford more, a buffet meal at one of the local five star hotels.

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That was back then. Today, one is simply spoilt for choice when it comes to fine dining – what with fancy restaurants opening every other month and offering all kind of international dishes.

Kenyans are demanding for this choice in dining out with increased discretionary spending, sophisticated taste and a changing social scene, where people eat out more compared to a few years back.

“There is no doubt that with more disposable income, people are spending more on entertainment in the form of dining out. The new themed restaurants that have come up have also helped to broaden the dining out experience,” says Paul Norman, Southern Sun’s General Manager.

Shailender Singh of Sarova Hotels attributes the trend to social change where the middle class dining out more than was the case a few years back.

The increased number of expatriates in the country, Kenyans returning from the west and locals who can afford to travel around the world and experience different tastes out there - are also major drivers to the growth in this segment of the hospitality industry.

“New-found affluence and a rise in earnings are making people more willing to try out new flavours,” he says. “This has seen more choices come into the markets.”

Because of this growing need for fine dining, new restaurants catering to this growing market, are fast coming up and offering good service are thriving and expanding in the market.

One such restaurant is Sevens Seafood & Grill, at ABC Place on Waiyaki Way, which is already rolling out its expansion plan with a second restaurant expected to open its doors at the Village Market by this December.

Expansion

The proprietors, Nawaaz Meghji and Kiran Jethwa, who is also the head chef, say they saw a gap in the market for a proper a seafood restaurant, that offered great food, good service, accessibility and a whole new dining experience.

This informed their decision to make the multi-million shilling investment which they say has been worth it.

Kiran says since opening their doors, the restaurant, which can sit 80 people, has been busy with a mix of locals and expatriates, with the average spend of Sh4,000 a head, which included dinner and a drink.

“The goal was to raise the bar,” says Kiran.

The second restaurant is expected to serve more steaks than sea food. The pair is however being very cautious with their expansion plans to ensure that each restaurant is tailor made for the area and is meeting a need.

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