In Summary
  • You have a choice of sitting in the garden or in the cosy roofed area near the bar. The setting is informal; the welcome is friendly.
  • One speciality of Neil’s place is the picnic boxes. As he says, most hotels put together a rather boring selection for their packed lunches.

Last Saturday I got a call from Eamon Mullen.

He wanted to tell me about a new restaurant he had visited — a restaurant and bar with the intriguing name, Planet Picnic.

Eamon used to be the Executive Chef of the Norfolk Hotel; he was the founder of the Pango gourmet brasserie at the Fairview Hotel — and he has cooked for many, if not most, of the rich and famous who have visited Kenya.

His autobiography, A Celebrity Chef in Africa, is a very good read. So when Eamon recommends a place, I take note.

I not only took note about the Planet Picnic — last Sunday I went.

It is tucked away in the leafy Karen Connection business park just along the Lower Plains Road, which is off the Karen Road that joins the Ngong and Lang'ata roads.

You have a choice of sitting in the garden or in the cosy roofed area near the bar. The setting is informal; the welcome is friendly.

BRUNCH TIME

Neil McCarthy immediately came over to greet me, and he also introduced me to a group of regular customers.

Neil is the owner, and a man who has been a chef in many places — at big hotels around the UK, at the Mount Kenya Safari Club, the Tribe Hotel, and the Aero Club here in Kenya.

I told him about Eamon Mullen’s recommendation. They know each other well, it seems, so that led to a few stories that are not in Eamon’s book.

Eventually, I got around to make my order — from the menu that is neatly chalked along a side wall and also above the bar.

It was Sunday brunch time; Neil is English — so I thought what is called a “Full English Breakfast” would be more authentic than many that go by that name around town. It was.

VALUE FOR MONEY

The eggs were fried just right — the yolk runny and the white firm — along with crispy bacon, sausages, slices of black pudding, and fried tomatoes.

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