Food & Drinks

Is this the best Thai restaurant?

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Thai Chi restaurant in Nairobi. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Summary

  • Who would have thought that what has been touted as the most authentic Thai Restaurant in the city actually sits at the heart of Nairobi's Central Business District?
  • Traditional bell music adds to its exotic allure as do the strategically placed Buddha statues and Lord Rama figurines.
  • Vegetarians, you can rest easy, are well accommodated with a variety of vegetable options.

A prophet is not welcome in his hometown best describes my encounter with Thai Chi Restaurant on the first floor of the Sarova Stanley. Who would have thought that what has been touted as the most authentic Thai Restaurant in the city complete with a head chef of Thai extraction—actually sits at the heart of Nairobi's Central Business District?

In my case, it took a foreigner to bring it to my attention. Even after making it to the first floor, it took some guidance to access the space located adjacent to the bar.

I especially liked the ambience that immerses you into Thai culture beginning with the porcelain pot, laden with red petals, that welcomes you at the door. There is a multi-tiered wooden roof that transports you to Thai.

Traditional bell music adds to its exotic allure as do the strategically placed Buddha statues and Lord Rama figurines. The theme moves on to the table presentation that encourages the use of chopsticks even as western cutlery is provided.

While the authenticity of the décor can be debated, their menu is spot on. You can order from either their set menu that averages Sh4,000, themed around Thailand's major cities of Phuket, Bangkok and Khon Kaen.

On this day, however, we opted for an ala carte menu ordering an assortment of meats for the mains; chicken breast fillets with cherry tomatoes and tender beef with green beans in garlic and black pepper. This was paired with steamed jasmine rice and the highly recommended Thai signature dish of wok-tossed noodles with shrimp, tofu spring onions, palm sugar finished with tamarind sauce, fresh bean sprouts, and crushed peanuts.

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Thai cuisine at Thai Chi restaurant in Nairobi. PHOTO | POOL

I avoided the beef and did not particularly enjoy the chicken. The stand-out meat for me, hands-down, was the delectable braised duck breast in red curry with grapes, pineapples, cherry tomatoes, and basil. This was preceded by an assortment of seasonal vegetables coated in light sago tempura flour for the starter.

Vegetarians, you can rest easy, are well accommodated as well with a variety of vegetable options.

Time for dessert. I have to admit my ginger and lemongrass brulee was rather puny albeit tasty compared to the golden fried vanilla ice cream and sticky toffee pudding that my compatriots had.

Thankfully all other portions were generous and they made up for it with a sizeable cup of coffee/ tea to wash it all down.

Thai Chi is ideal for a laid-back business lunch or a romantic dinner. Be advised, however, that the space is rather small-seats not more than 50-and rather popular so reservations are recommended to avoid disappointment.

The space is however closed to children below 12 years. The dress code is either formal wear or smart casual. No shorts, sleeveless shirts, and sandals.