Great aura, decent food

By: BON VIVANT

The Arbor is a garden restaurant located in Lavington close to the busy crossroads of Gitanga and James Gichuru. There is secure parking in plenty.

The decor is eclectic and whimsical, with bright red chairs and cheery wooden tables set throughout the vibrant garden and nursery. There are some shops inside the building and an outdoor kitchen.

Wind chimes and recycled wine bottles make for beautiful sounds and a cheery ambiance. The bathrooms are well-decorated and immaculately clean. We did not see a baby changing table but doubtless the management will soon install one, seeing how popular the venue is with young families.

We were starving when we arrived. The very observant manager would alert the staff when we were flagging them down. The servers were pleasant although they did not seem knowledgeable.

They did not make any recommendations, nor did they explain the menu.

The lunch special for Sh800 includes a main meal and a soda. I found The Arbor a bit pricey even though their food is generally good. Their chicken wings are delicious but either the portion was too small or the price was too steep.

GENEROUS SALAD

The salad is a generous size and the main burger was perfection. The thick fries (they needed a few more minutes of cooking because the potato was still hard inside) and the cheese and bacon over the chicken and beef burgers were divine.

The plating was superb and indeed the chef did a great execution of this entire dish.

The cappuccino and mocha were great, as were their strawberry lemonade and other creative drinks. My colleague enjoyed her laksa, a spicy noodle soup from Malaysian cuisine, but I was a bit disappointed in their Vietnamese noodle soup, pho.

The execution fell short of authentic pho. Real pho has several components that you assemble at the table alongside the steaming hot broth.

These fresh raw ingredients add several more dimensions to the dish, which were lacking in this commercialised version. The redeeming factor of The Arbor’s pho was the tender steak strips inside the beef broth.

The menu boasted a world-tour assortment of meals – gyros, sandwiches, hearty salads, Thai green curry and the like. I love an abundance of choice although the danger of offering so many contrasting cuisines rather than specialising in a few, is the difficulty in perfecting all of them.

Their dessert menu was also appetising and I longed to try their crème brûlee but my belly was full. Doubtless, they are getting something right – since their opening a few months ago, the place remains packed especially on weekends. Recommended.C

SOURCE: DAILY NATION