I don’t mean to reduce this lovely restaurant on Maua Close in Westlands, Nairobi to something so innocuous. I don’t mean to diminish the lovely security chaps outside in hats directing you to park against the fence.
Or the maître d’ who meets you at the small gated entrance that leads you into a large romantic patio seating or further into the main restaurant.
I don’t want to overlook the sheer elegance of the decor; the books, the antiques, the paintings, the lovely pattern chairs, the high iron beams painted the colour of wood, the mood of festivity and seduction and celebration.
I don’t want to overlook the cuisine that they call ‘elevated African cuisine.’ I don’t seek to take away from Suji, a former footballer-turned-barman who served me a new whisky I’d never heard of.
Forgive me for not delving into all that but I would like to talk about the men’s room at beit é selam.
You will be pressed to see a more astonishing bathroom. Or anything more visually arresting. It’s the flower-patterned walls, black Herringbone patterned tiles and the light that glows just right.
It’s the wooden doors with white shutters. Music that trickles against the walls. It’s the most gorgeous washroom I have seen in a while. It’s the Oscars of washrooms. All washrooms gather there for benchmarking. It’s really a shame men don’t take selfies in washrooms.
I recently stood there and thought, this is a perfect place to propose to a woman. You leave your phone on the table, go for a leak and just stay there. After 30 minutes she will have to come to find you, worried that you fell in the toilet bowl.
She will open the door a crack, and you will be there, one knee, box in hand, one hand against your heart, the lighting illuminating your love. She will squeal, “Oh my God, Tom, are you seriously proposing to me in the men’s room!?” The best dinner conversation for years to come.
And so you know, beit é selam means ‘house of peace’ and what a peaceful way to start a marriage?
Whatever you do when you visit beit é selam please visit the men’s room.