Last weekend my friend and I went to try out one of the fairly new kid on the block in the Nairobi restaurant scene – Caramel Lounge bar and restaurant which is located on the 2nd floor of ABC place, Waiyaki Way Nairobi. We had heard so much about it and it did not hurt to finally experience it physically.
There is a misconception that Caramel is out of reach for the average client. Sure, it does have its regular target clientele and that would be one that does not fuss over money but it is not too far removed in terms of pricing from other high end bars in Nairobi and there is no reason why one would not treat themselves there. Caramel is not exactly defined by the Remy Martin Louis XIII which goes for Kshs.41,000/- a tot and which takes pride of place at the bar. There are pretty attainable prices on other drinks as well as happy hour from Monday to Friday 4pm-8pm, with selected house beverages going for half price. In terms of ambiance, it is quite laid back and friendly, with a host of courteous staff right from the door.
There’s an endearing simplicity about the décor at Caramel – a beautiful and classy earth tones theme running throughout the restaurant. It is certainly done to impress, cushioned from looking like a bland brown monotone by a creative combination of beautiful lighting, elaborate wall features and a dramatic floor. It has different hues here and there alright, but all in the neighborhood of the colour caramel. This effect creates a warm neutral environment that makes the visitor feel welcome and comfortable right away. The colour scheme also works to create a calm distraction free environment in which to enjoy your food and drinks. The highlight of the décor for me was a hard to miss 18 sitter onyx table which stands proudly near the bar.
My friend and I were there for the Nairobi Restaurant Week lunch menu and we could not wait to get down to business.We decided to pick a different starter each and share so that we get to experience both flavours. One of the starters was mac and cheese – a real definition of melt in your mouth goodness. For cheese lovers like myself, you’ll love this treat which is made with a combination of parmesan, cheddar and mozzarella.
For mains we had succulent pieces of marinated and grilled chicken served on a tasty parsnip puree, with some more chicken and baby spinach on the side. This was very tender and well made. We picked raspberry cheesecake and banana lemon sorbets for dessert and I preferred the tang in the lemon sorbet.
The food portions were not exactly overflowing the plates but they were enough. It was my first visit to Caramel and so I have no parameters with which to compare the food portions for Nairobi Restaurant Week and those on the normal menu, so I can’t testify to the difference between the two. All in all we thoroughly enjoyed our lunch and would not hesitate to go back for more.
Caramel is bigger than one would expect, with enough corners, nooks and crannies with comfortable seating for clients of assorted preferences to relax. Other than the main dining area and bar, there is another dining place which is open for hires for parties and other private events. In what I thought was testament to the caliber of a segment of its clients, there is a room dedicated to cigar smokers. A room that left no doubts that its an absolute man cave.
There is plenty to drink at Caramel, if this extensive wine cellar is anything to go by. The bar (not in picture) is also quite big.
My experience at Caramel was great and I’ll certainly be back.