Going out: Nairobi notebook

Jackson Biko is our man about town

You will never find a more irrepressible bar than Choices Bar on Baricho Road. Even when the once-popular bars on Baricho Road crumble to dust, Choices continues to stoically defy trends and waves. Seasons pass, and ‘Kachoi’ – as it’s affectionately referred to by Nairobians – always finds new ways of reinventing itself. That’s because when you go to Kachoi you will always find what you are looking for. And what you should be looking for on Thursdays is some homegrown sound. Thursday Night Live is when they invite a local afro-fusion artist to show his muscle. And the amount of local talent in this genre is astounding. You will walk in, and on the stage will be, say, Chris Adwar and his Villagers Band lighting up the place. Or the Afro-Jazz cool-man, Eddie Grey, spewing his jazzy intelligentsia. Raw talent lives in Kachoi on Thursdays and those nights are always wicked.

Still on music. You might not have heard of the artist Winyo and his four-piece band. ‘Winyo’ means bird, in the Luo dialect and we all know that birds sing. Winyo has just launched an album Benga Blues. This album is a continuation of Winyo’s artistic narration where he story lines his songs in that feather-smooth Luo tone to set the agenda through Afro-fusion and Afro jazz. This guy is something, if you like these kind of tunes. (To order a CD, call: 0720561198.)

Enough of music, let’s talk food. Six months ago a snazzy Victorian boutique hotel opened in Karen. Collingham Gardens sits on 1.8-ha of lush grounds at Karen Hardy. You must be wondering, OK, so what? You may well ask that, given that hotels are popping up in Nairobi every tea-time. Well, apart from the fact that Collingham Gardens sits on its own green serene gardens, they throw mean Family Sunday Sizzlers by the pool. This is a bit like a chama choma plan – only there is no spit, at least not in the garden, but in the kitchen from where your platter of choice is whipped up. For about Ksh 1,500 a platter you will be given all the meat you can feasibly put away. And for good measure, why not check out their Karaoke shindig every last Saturday of the month in their Cuban Belly Bar (http://collinghamgardens.co.ke/)

Do you want to eat good fish without flying to the lakeside town of Kisumu? Then try Mama Oliech’s Place on Chaka Road. Mama Oliech is Denis Oliech (the footballer’s) mom who, not only raises football stars but also whips up some delectable fish dishes. You can have it fried or stewed, doesn’t matter, because both are great choices. By all means, please have some kachumbari too. And if you are adventurous, try the millet ugali. Just don’t operate heavy machinery after – you may nod off.