A few weeks ago, to celebrate my birthday, I opted to go for a leisurely afternoon tea experience, as opposed to the tried-and-tested, but still classic, dinner and cake we usually do. After a fun-filled evening of pure indulgences in some of the most amazing wine, pasta and pizza where my friends surprised me with a platter of mini chocolate-frosted donuts for dessert, I was quite ready to just spend quiet time with my parents. If you’re wondering where Diva is, she’s gone off to the real home of afternoon tea to attend university.
While Karen, home to a plethora of restaurants and cafes, is a great place to relax, it is often too far for people who live in non-Karen areas. So instead, I booked us the afternoon tea at The Lord Erroll in Runda.
Having decided to go a little later towards the end of the afternoon, we arrived at The Lord Erroll at 5PM.
A beautiful setup, the 20-year old restaurant pays homage to the lavish lifestyle led by Josslyn Victor Hay, the ‘Earl of Erroll’. After a brief role as a Military Attaché in Berlin, Josslyn travelled to Kenya in 1924 with his wife Lady Idina Gordon where they settled on the slopes of the Aberdares. He later moved to ‘Oserian’, a Moroccan-styled mansion on the shores of Lake Naivasha, with his second wife, Mary-Ramsey Hill (Molly). Here, he was appointed the ‘Secretary of the Production and Settlement Board of Kenya’ also serving as an active member of the Legislative Council. The Earl of Erroll was mysteriously murdered in 1941, a year after he became the Military Secretary of Kenya.
The Lord Erroll recreates this enthralling piece of history, with its opulent country-style exteriors, polished wooden floors, stained glass specimens and regal interiors, complete with beautiful art pieces (of course, I’d notice these) portray the life of the enigmatic ‘Earl of Erroll’.
The restaurant has a delightful array of alfresco ‘terrace-styled’ seating areas to choose from, each with a different view of the green gardens, complete with gorgeous waterfalls, streams and ponds.
The hostess at the front desk ushered us into the Idina West Dining Area, where we were sat by the large glass windows, overlooking the lush, green gardens, home to three resident cats. Of course, at the reception, as soon as I entered, a portable ramp was quickly drawn out, ensuring that I had a smooth “drive” to our table.As we sat, our server, who was always ready to assist us in any way possible, knew we had arrived for afternoon tea. After ordering our hot drinks of choice (Coffee for all of us), I requested for the vegetarian afternoon tea. I had forgotten to inform them about our dietary requirements when booking beforehand so it took a little while for the food to arrive as we sipped on our steaming hot cups of Kenyan Coffee.The conversation flowed (as we discussed our upcoming travels and how The Lord Erroll makes you feel like you’ve escaped Nairobi, among other things), and soon the food-filled tiered platter arrived.On the lowest tier, we had the savoury sandwiches: Egg & Chive, Tomato & Cheese, Cucumber & Cream Cheese, Grilled Vegetable, and Guacamole. While the Guacamole sandwich had sounded intriguing, it was less appealing taste-wise, as the brown bread squares it was served on, were a little stale. I wish they had toasted the bread before topping it with the chunky guacamole. Considering I love avocado, I was disappointed in this sandwich.My absolute favorite was the Egg & Chive, which was filling and scrumptious! I also loved the Grilled Vegetable sandwich, which had grilled peppers and zucchini on brown bread. It also made me feel a little healthier before I indulged in the scones and dessert. The Tomato & Cheese (with mild Cheddar) and the Cucumber & Cream Cheese sandwiches were wonderful, too.Once Dad and I had our cups of coffee, we switched to Hot Chocolate. To our delight, the not-too-sweet Hot Chocolate was included in the price of the afternoon tea package.
On the middle tier were the most wonderful scones. Nothing fancy here! Just fresh warm Scones: Plain and Raisin Scones, these were an absolute delight to nosh on, especially with the homemade Strawberry Jam, Mascarpone spread and the Whipped Cream.Finally, on the topmost tier, there were an array of desserts. Starting off with the Passion Fruit Mousse with a chocolate ganache filling. Light and fluffy, this was a sure winner on the table, and I was surprised as I’m not a fan of mousse. The mini fruit-flavored Macarons were adorable and paired well with the coffee. The rich Three-Layered Chocolate Cake was divine and the size was perfect enough to convey the rich chocolate flavors. While the torched marshmallow-topped Chocolate Fudge Cake reminded me of a cakey brownie, it didn’t wow me. But I absolutely loved the Mini Fruit Tarts that were filled with a delicious blend of sweet and sour passion fruit curd and topped with fresh fruit. And the shell! Oh, so scrumptious, perfectly buttery and crunchy.Since we couldn’t finish our platter, they were kind enough to pack the food to go, complete with their homemade jam.
For excellent service and some of the most delicious treats I’ve had in a while, the price for afternoon tea, Ksh. 1500/- per person, is worth it.
A blissful evening, I thought it was the perfect way to celebrate my birthday.If you want to celebrate something in a lavish but affordable way, you know where to go!
Photos by Hitesh Shah