Eating Out: Lunch at Roan Rooftop
It’s Friday afternoon, it’s been a long day this morning and early afternoon at the office. Dala Sevens is coming and we need to be on top of our game as one of the main sponsors. There is then the usual stuff that ranges from sending reports to ensuring that news bulletins go on -air in time. Crazy life this one.
My head is throbbing, I need to go out of the office for some fresh air. I haven’t eaten out all week because of my healthy diet and stuff. Today I can indulge.
I settle for Roan Rooftop in the heart of Oginga Odinga street. Finding parking space at the foot of Anyange Plaza is hell on a weekday so I opt to park at Central Square and walk past the “Bunge la wananchi” where a group of retirees and a bunch of Kisumu idlers are discussing politics of the day. Today it’s about Prof. Anya’g Nyong’o ‘s launch of his gubernatorial bid in his Seme backyard.
I literally fly through the fight of stairs (well, almost flying) to the rooftop of Anyange Plaza. The cool breeze from the lake hits my face and I am wowed by the African themed decor of the restaurant. You have probably been here before at night for Karaoke or on a Friday party night with DJ Phrankee. I bet you had no idea that this place is not a club but rather a restaurant that turns into a club a couple of nights in the week.
I sit at the middle of the restaurant with my bark turned against the street. It’s so ambient up here that you forget that you are three floors above Kisumu’s busiest street. The breeze from the lake still caresses my balk, the sun outside decided to come with his brothers. The car did not help much being that I had parked in the hot sun at the office because everyone decided to buy a car this year – radio business has been good.
To my left is a young white couple – probably American expats. They look too calm to be tourist. They are having beef burgers with french fries and coke. The man is engrossed in a Robin Sharma book – “Who will Cry When You Die?” Not the type of question I want to think about today. There is a gentleman sitting by himself to my right, he is having beef, kales with ugali. There are three ladies in the far right corner where the couches are. They must have just arrived moments before me. They are loudly arguing whether they should order pork chops or lamb cuttlings. They must be Luo.
For a moment I am tempted to order for pork chops when the lady waiter hands me the menu but she politely asks me if I have ever tried their African cuisine. I ask her what she would recommend and she smiles and thinks for a moment. I look look straight at her. She is very friendly. She is wearing a J&B Rare branded top with a short fitting skirt. “Short enough to cause excitement but long enough to cover the essentials.”
You should try our Ugali with fish.
I look up the local delicacies section then I have a light bulb moment – Kamongo. I have never been a fan of Kamongo ever since I was little because I hated how the meat felt in the mouth. My mum made fun of me because I usually refused to eat it but loved its soup.
I settle on it primarily to challenge the chef. If he can make me like it then he is good. I order a soda as well and wait for 25 minutes. In the meantime I am enjoying the cool music oozing from the speakers above the bar counter. A few more people arrive after me, there is life here but not too crowed. You are not competing with smoke at the same time. The smiley waiter returns with some water for me to clean my hands. She lays a tray with ketchup, chili, salt and napkins on the table before returning with another tray with my order.
Now it’s one thing to make great food and it’s totally something else to present it well. Before I even dig in, I am already super impressed by the presentation. This calls for an Instagram moment!
For the first time in my life I totally enjoy a meal of Kamongo. The top dressing with mor nyaluo and lemon juice might have done the trick. Then there was the creamy osuga side dish!
I leave the restaurant about 45 minutes later after paying my bill (which I did via MPESA but they also accept VISA & Mastercard) and tipping the waiter – I always tip. I still felt that it was the best spent Ksh. 450 in a long time.