EATING SMART AT AN EXPENSIVE JOINT.
Hey there! Welcome to this post and Thank you so much for stopping by!
It has been so hard to write this year. I thought I would love this whole reviewing thing year in-year out and was prepared for all the ups and downs. Turns out, there are some pretty low lows I didn’t anticipate. “Difficulty-in-writing” being one of them. In fact, that difficulty is more of me lacking confidence in my creativity/work and feeling like it may be a bit useless. For that reason, its been exactly 3 months since I posted a review. Being busy with school, life and all that has been me just avoiding the real issue.
Lucky for you and me it’s all over now. The conversations I have had with people about this blog or even on completely un-related topics have made me realise how much I enjoy this and how I have no intention of ever stopping. In that same spirit, a good friend decided to take me somewhere to help me remember my ‘why‘. It’s the same friend who showed me Views Coffee Houseso I actually owe them a lot in terms of getting content to post. I really love Views. God knows, I’ve been going there a bit too much instead of visiting new places for you guys! Anyway, that’s all in the past. We are forging on!
If you’re new here, excuse my rambling. It’s never like this. I always (okay. I try) to get to the review as soon as I can. The Collective Restaurant is located in the CBD (town) at View Park Towers on Utalii Street. Basically around Goethe Institute, Anniversary Towers and KEMU towers.
The small, slightly hidden entrance might make you disregard it or fool you into thinking it’s a tiny, basic restaurant like any other in town. This is very wrong! I stepped in and felt I was no longer in the noisy, busy CBD. It was quiet, beautiful, airy and had soft music playing in the background. The narrow entryway opens up to a stunning space.
When the waitress asked where we wanted to seat I felt I wasn’t ready to choose yet. I mean, I want to see it all before I decide so I have what I’d consider a perfect spot and have zero regrets in terms of lighting, comfort and air-flow. She was kind enough to show us all the sitting areas both upstairs and downstairs before asking again. As she took us round I told myself how you guys would never forgive me if I didn’t tell you guys about it! At the end of the tour, we chose a corner downstairs.
The art on the walls took my breath away. High bare ceilings allowed the artists work to stand out and the Kenyan artists to tell a story. It’s unfortunate I don’t appreciate art as much because I didn’t look at the pieces with that gentle, creative eye, appreciating every expression on the canvas. Nonetheless, I was happy to enjoy the art as much as I could and even found out you can walk in just to admire the art pieces. It is not only a restaurant but an art gallery too!
The restaurant and art gallery also takes pride in it’s bar. Upstairs, there is a bar and dj/band station. I loved this because different Kenyan artists come to play every day/ weekend and you can listen to the jams while enjoying wine or a cocktail or even a softer drink.
I felt that the vibe upstairs was wind-down, chill, intimate and romantic. This is because even the lighting wasn’t as bright.
In addition to this, there are two conference rooms that could also act as private dining rooms.
The downstairs sitting area is better lit, had a higher ceiling (which I love) and is very spacious. I feel the decor at this whole restaurant revolves around the art pieces as well as their simple decor stands. The table setting in itself is also a statement.
A smoking zone outside offers even more sitting space if there is need.
After taking a tour round, I was sure, their menu items are on the higher side. Granted, I wasn’t mentally prepared to spend a lot of money so was still taken back a little when I looked at the menu. However, I didn’t see how I was just going to have fries or a soda and walk out. First off, I was hungry (lunch is just too important to me. I need a proper hot meal) and second, I wanted to sample something unique for the review. I was torn so took quite a while with the menu to find something.
My pocket was restricting me to just look at the bitings section but I was feeling it might be such a waste of money if I got a tiny portion. After chatting a little with the waitress, consulting my wallet and calling myself to reality, I decided to order from the biting section. I had been pointed to the ones that come with accompaniments so was convinced it wasn’t a bad idea. Besides, how many times do you hear bitings come with an accompaniment. This checked out as a deal in my books!
My friend, seemingly un-bothered by the importance of this, was ready for us to walk out if I couldn’t make up my mind. I mean, we still hadn’t caught up as planned. Following in my footsteps, they also ordered from the same category. Since the bites with accompaniments are with those that don’t have, be sure you ask if what you want comes with an accompaniment.
See their food menu below:
See their drinks menu below:
See their Happy Hour offers below:
My friend went for mini fish and chips in a basket @ 700/=. The fish is coated red snapper fish fillet with french fries on a mini-trolley. I already argued with someone about whether it’s a trolley or not so just allow me to call it a trolley. To be honest, I was impressed by everything.
The presentation, portion and comprehensiveness of the dish. Despite being a biting, it had everything from vegetables, sauces and garnish at no extra cost. I’m sure some of us can’t relate to this because your local restaurant makes you pay for anything from a toothpick & serviette to sauces and veggies. To all those like me, WELCOME TO CLASS!
The fish was tender. The contrast of texture between the crispy coating and the moist fish was incredible. Let’s not forget to crown that with our delicious tartar sauce (white sauce in a bowl) that I ended up drizzling on my chips because wow! It was like kachumbari on steroids! Absolutely incredible! Remember to squeeze the lemon on your fish to get that perfect seafood and citrus flavour combination!
The french fries were nothing short of amazing. Despite the genius trolley presentation, they were also well salted, portioned and seasoned. The genius seasoning just brought out the potato flavour marvelously! In fact, from now on, I am not accepting french fries without salt from the kitchen (unless it’s my local then I can turn a blind eye). It is insulting to put a hot, unsalted potato in your mouth.
I ordered mini beef burgers with fries @ 900/=. They call them beef sliders. Now, I don’t know if you remember my battle of thoughts in choosing what to eat or how worried I was about the portion. This was hands-down the best portion I could have ever imagined for this dish. Just incredible.
As if that wasn’t enough, the flavour in them was absolutely spot on. Not only was I blessed with a well-portioned flavourful dish but I also got my seasoned fries in a trolley! I would have these sliders everyday if I could. If I’m honest, I have never had a normal sized burger taste half as good. I guess good things do come in small packages. That goes for the burgers and the biting section of the menu.
Each bite had every single ingredient. Cheese, bacon , caramelised onions, a special sauce, super barbecued beef patty, all on soft toasted bread. Right from the first to the last bite, there was proper consistency.
It’s safe to say that despite being a biting, I was thoroughly impressed, satisfied and so content. I recommend this restaurant to everyone. If you want a nice place that isn’t too far from the CBD or a cosy escape and don’t want to spend too much, then The Collective is your place to be!
That’s all I had for you today! I’d love to hear your experience at this restaurant or even how you eat smart at expensive places. Leave a comment down below!
Thank you so much for stopping by!