Soko Gourmet (dusitD2)14 Riverside, dusitD2 nairobi, Riverside, Nairobi
Oh boy! Where do I begin with this. I started going to Soi when it first opened. We celebrated one of our anniversary dinners there. We ordered the Phad Thai along with with a few other dishes on the menu and some of their fancy pants cocktails. Everything was incredible, we left the place raving about it. Since we had such a great dinner we obviously wanted to go back, we found another special occasion to use as an excuse to go with our friends. That's when things started to go downhill. Food was nothing like the first time, drinks were mediocre (order the same drinks) but service remained good. We were a bit embarrassed in front of our friends since we raved so much about it and it really disappointed all of us. We wanted to go back again to give it one more chance, (you'd think we learned) we made reservations over their site, got a confirmation, when we get there, the hostess who might be Thai rudely rejected us, even though we had the confirmation. Furthermore the restaurant was very visibly empty, so I'm not sure what her deal was. If we wanted a NYC attitude with our dinner we would have remained living in NYC, Nairobi is not known for this kind of behavior last I checked. We were so taken aback by her behavior that we claimed we wouldn't' come back . Well Fast Forward to last week, due to some changes in our original schedule and last minute planning on my part, we ended up going there for my Birthday Dinner. I tried not to think too much of anything that night as I was in the company of great friends. Well 1.5 hours later, we still don't have our food, after some questioning we finally get it, it's all soggy, and not right. made us wonder if it was just sitting there. Drinks were half done i.e. chilly side car had no chilly and didn't even taste the same as before, we had to send drinks back to get it right. They were at 30% capacity but the staff looked visibly stretched, I don't know why they don't hire more staff to prevent such delays, confusion and poor service. We shouldn't have to ask for a bottle of water 5 times and still not have it. Needless to say, that will be our last time at Soi. If I want to dine on overpriced Thai food and drinks I'll take it to Emerald Garden, at least they are consistent and not pretentious.
I was waiting to try Thai street food so Soi did not disappoint. The dishes were flavourful and very tasty. I loved the overall experience, the ambience and service. It is by far the coolest spot in town. Spice lovers will love this place for the food has great spices and balance of tastes. And don't get me started on the decor.
Well, they say first impressions are important, right? Well, I guess I should have walked out upon walking into Soi. Reception upon walking into the restaurant was poor. Hostess wasn't clear about what seating was available. A table for two that was supposedly reserved on the outdoor patio where we would have liked to have sat, stayed empty for our entire time at the restaurant (approximately 90 minutes). So then we asked to be seated at a table inside that needed a quick cleaning and place setting...which should have taken 2 minutes…but it took close to 10. Staff looked like they were in a slow motion movie. I wanted to wipe the table myself. Which, by the way, the person wiping the table wiped crumbs and detritus from the previous diners onto the floor. Finally seated at our table, we were handed drink menus and the waiter disappeared. For at least 5 minutes. Finally ordered drinks after fumbling with the menu. You have to turn the drinks menu on its side....and then after reading one page and turning the page, you have to flip the whole menu upside down to read the backside of the page. Then you have to flip it over again to read the next page, and on and on it went. Cocktail offerings were pretty boring and not of great variety. Mostly vodka-based if I recall correctly. I didn't actually have the courage to venture into trying one because the descrptions were pretty bland. On to the food. Ordered spring rolls and Sausage-stuffed chicken wings for starters. Spring rolls --- a Thai specialty -- were very bland and didn't pop. The side sauces for dipping tasted as if they were bought at Nakumatt. No imagination whatsoever. Had to ask for hot sauce..... The sausage-stuffed chicken wings were interesting to say the least....but not interesting in a good way. This was a classic case of a restaurant trying too hard to be fancy. They were a complete failure. I am worried about the mystery meat that was stuffed into them. Was it chicken? It didn’t taste like chicken! Onto the main course. I felt cheated by the menu's offerings. Aside from some curries and some stir fries, there was seemingly nothing very Thai about their offerings, except for Pad Thai. How can one go wrong, right? So I ordered the Pad Thai. My companion ordered a chicken stir fry dish. The Pad Thai was absolutely, positively the worst Pad Thai that I have ever had in my life. And I have eaten and made a lot of Pad Thai. Especially in Thailand. Soi's Pad Thai was sticky and tangy. Too tangy. The congealed noodles were just the start of what was wrong. I didn't taste any of the goodness that one expects when eating Pad Thai. Where was the punchiness of the flavors that are supposed to be there? Why weren’t the shrimp…which were slightly undercooked btw…not stripped of their tails making it inconvenient to have to separate them yourself instead of chowing down on them? The chicken stir fry dish, which I tasted, tasted as if an entire jar of a store-bought sauce was dumped into the dish. It completely masked the flavors of the ingredients and the chicken itself. A big bowl of tangy mess. As for service, not once did our waiter or the manager come to check on us to see if everything was alright. And after finishing my first drink, I wasn’t asked if I wanted a refill until after we had finished our attempt at enjoying our meal. We were never offered dessert…so I am not even sure if dessert is offered at Soi. They lost out on the second round of drinks and dessert because we were pretty keen on fleeing Soi as fast as possible. Most likely never to return. BTW, I was there on the opening night of NRW2015 and we were NOT offered any special meal/menu related to NRW!
Visited during Nairobi Restaurant Week 2015 and I'll probably never go back. Things I liked..the valet parking. That is about it. I had the chicken on the bone in aromatic Penang curry curry and I barely had a bite. The curry tasted of a single spice whose taste overwhelmed everything else. It was not pleasant at all. The starter (Tangy Thai papaya sald) and dessert(panna cotta with passion fruit and mango) were ok, nothing to write home about. The water (500 bob for 750ml) is incredibly overpriced and the service was average.
Went there for the NRW ....the food was delish....the waiters were efficient and most importantly my girlfriends and I had soo much fun....beautiful ambiance...convenient location...what more could I ask for. Will definitely go back