Makena's Review ‹ Back to The River Cafe
Out for fresh air and a leisure stroll on a Saturday afternoon, took us to Karura Forest. I had heard of the restaurant but as with everything, you need to try it for yourself. Thinking it was a cafe, didn't think we had to make reservations (Plus, we were two). We were surprised to find out that was not the case. We were asked if we had a reservation and informed them that we did not but would be grateful if they made arrangements. The hostess stepped away, at which point we looked around and noticed that they had a good number of tables vacant (a number of which had the reserved sign). After not one, not two but three hostesses came to greet us, the last one came back and informed us that she had made arrangements for our seating and ushered us to our seats located on the lower balcony. I was a bit caught off guard by the number of tables that were vacant/reserved but I chose to reserve my opinions until the end of the experience. Service-The waiter, named Leon was exceptional from the beginning making us feel comfortable, passing by to check up on us and make sure the meal, the drinks everything was Ok etc. He was very patient as I tend to be a bit fussy about my meal, which we appreciated (all stars to him). In for a quick lunch, I opted for the blue cheese burger with the option of a salad and not fries. I ordered my burger medium. The burger was leaning more towards well done, but I enjoyed it. Balsamic onions happen to be one of my favourite burger toppings, so the combo with the blue cheese flavour was hitting home (They should add more of the onions though, maybe take away the mayonnaise or make it optional). Had drinks as well, those were good and their wine list and prices are great. We did eventually get moved to another table in the same area by our waiter. However, there were reserved tables on the upper deck, that were left vacant for long periods of time. With concern (as a patron who needed a table and wondering about its applicability from a business perspective,) I inquired about the situation and their waiting period for reservations. I was informed it is 15minutes. There were quite a number of tables that were left vacant for more than 30 minutes, which did raise a lot of questions.
The location...in the middle of the forest, with the beautiful scenery and the fresh air. These made the ambience. I admit that I did not pay that much attention to other details of the ambience. However, from what I saw, the restaurant leans towards rustic decor that plays off the natural surroundings. Sitting and enjoying your meal, It's impossible not to be in awe of how beautiful the forest is. As a Kenyan, I found myself proudly reflecting on the heritage it represents.