Going out: Nairobi notebook

Jackson Biko is our man about town.

Can you locate the Republic of Moldova on the map? Neither could I. It’s a little landlocked country, tucked between Romania and Ukraine. If it’s hard to trace Moldova it’s even harder to imagine that they produce wine. Decent wine, actually.

For the past six months or so, the shelves of most stores in Nairobi have been sporting a peculiar-looking bottle, sheathed in a rough bark tree. It’s the Asconi brand of wine. They mostly do red wine (sweet and semi-sweet), with Kiss Me Now as their flagship brand. It’s a great bottle as far as dessert wines go and popular with the ladies. You might never set foot in Moldova but you certainly can put your tongue in it. (To order, tel: 0718824112.)

Talking of palates. There is a burger bug going around, biting Nairobi. There was the build-your-own-burger thing at Brew Bistro and now there is a new burger joint – Urban Gourmet Burger  – which opened its doors in Westgate a couple of months ago. Under the same management of ArtCaffe, this is a funky joint that sells ‘designer’ burgers like their famous Texas burger (beef burger, crispy bacon, cheddar, fried egg, rocket leaves and bbq sauce) that comes with a serving of fries, all for Ksh850. Make sure you go with a good appetite. (Tel: 0711 222 222).

If burgers aren’t your thing, and it’s a Friday, how about some steak, then? Flame Tree, at the Sarova Hotel, has a wicked Friday’s steak and wine night. The crowd and the mood are always as exciting as the steak. If you are a full-on  carnivore, this is the place  to sink your teeth into.

Once you have wolfed down your steak or burger, how about checking out a few places in town? If it’s a Thursday and you like concerts you could try the Nairobi Live concerts at The Tree House on Upper Hill. There is always a good mix of artists coming on stage on these nights. However, if it’s the first Friday of the month then you might want to get your head into the biggest afro-fusion date in town: Carnivore’s Rhumba Night. It’s a brilliant place for rhumba lovers and for nostalgia. Parking is usually a mess, but it’s a small price to pay for a riotous evening.

If you are new in Nairobi you might want to take advantage of the fact that it’s the only city with a National Park in such close proximity – only 7km from the city centre. If you have a weekend to burn and you want to burn it slowly, go for a game drive one afternoon. You can stop at one of the picnic sites – Mokoiyet, Kingfisher and Impala – and unpack your drinks, sandwiches and your camera. You might spot a giraffe, but if you don’t, you will at least catch a zebra.