Sunday brunch at the new Radisson Blu

Every month, it seems, another Sunday brunch event pops up somewhere in the city. One of the latest additions is the Sunday Fire Lake Brunch at the new Radisson Blu Hotel and Residence by the Nairobi Arboretum. My wife and I tried it out last weekend, and we were impressed.

Fire Lake is a great name for a restaurant, isn’t it? It sounds like some mythical place at the end of a long quest. The ‘Fire’, I suppose, could be representative of the restaurant’s flame-grilled specialities, and the ‘Lake’ is also suitable because the restaurant spills out onto a wooden-clad terrace on the edge of a large, open-air water feature. The terrace extends beyond the restaurant and wraps around a curved shallow swimming pool at one end, and merges into the Infinity Pool Bar at the other.

This whole area was transformed for the brunch last Sunday: a live band performed silky jazz tunes from a platform in the heart of the water feature, waiters handed customers bottomless mimosas and screwdrivers as they arrived, and elaborate buffet stations had been prepared within the Fire Lake restaurant and along the patio out back. The stations were rustically presented amongst wooden crates, clay pots, hay bales and hessian sacks.

There was a wide variety of food on offer as you would expect: cold cuts and salads, creamy Indian curries, grilled steaks, chicken legs and other meats, traditional Kenyan dishes, pastas, assorted desserts and plenty more. The restaurant was packed – mainly with adults enjoying their drinks, while watching over their kids splashing in the pool.

The weekend was otherwise very peaceful. My wife and I spent Saturday night in one of hotel’s Superior Rooms, with a view out towards the tall canopies of the Arboretum. Despite the name, these are actually the lowest tier of rooms on offer, but they are very comfortable, with the type of Scandinavian minimalist décor that is typical of Radisson Blu hotels. The most striking element of the design of the hotel, generally, is the canvassed tube-like walkway that connects the reception to the restaurants and rooms.

We were given a tour of some of the other rooms by Guest Relations Officer, Melab Aseneka. I was intrigued in particular by the long-stay options at the hotel – the one and two-bedroom apartments – which have spacious living areas, Wi-Fi, smart TVs and kitchenettes. Some of the apartments face the courtyard and pool, while others look out towards the forest.

When I asked her why the outskirts of the Arboretum had been chosen as the site for the hotel, she naturally talked about the quiet, green surroundings, but she also mentioned the tight security of the State House area as a key factor. It’s not far from the CBD, too, so she said it was a convenient venue for meetings. There are five meeting and conference rooms at the hotel, which can comfortably host groups of up to 200 guests.

After the tour, to counter the weekend’s rich, indulgent food, we decided to spend an hour or so in the gym. Another guest had the same idea, but he took a much more relaxed approach. He positioned one of the weight benches in front of the TV, sat back with his arms folded behind his head, and watched Liverpool beat Bournemouth in the Premier League. I admired his carefree attitude.

For more information about the hotel, head to https://www.radissonhotels.com/en-us/hotels/radisson-blu-nairobi-arboretum. The brunch is held every Sunday and only groups over 10 people need to book, by calling 0793 371983 or emailing dining.residence.nairobi@radissonblu.com. It costs Ksh 5,000 per person with bottomless mimosas and screwdrivers, or Ksh 4,500 without. For children below 12 it is Ksh 2,000, and below six it is free. Children of all ages can use the pool too.

Published in Kenya’s Sunday Nation