Njeri Maina @PeopleDailyKe
Soft Arabic music plays in the background as my two charges and I find seats overlooking the flower garden on the ground floor at Toranj restaurant, off James Gichuru Road.
After the youngsters ask me to get them kiddie food and some juice, my two charges take off to play on a trampoline and a set of swings, which, to my delight, are free of charge.
I order rice and chicken mushrooms and two children’s meals from the waitress, who has been patiently waiting all this time. She has probably also witnessed that am probably not the boss from all the haranguing I underwent at the kids’ hands, but her polished demeanour gives nothing away.
I sit back and take out my book as I enjoy the respite from the zany energy that any seven and four-year-old nephews are wont to exude.
There is a table fully dedicated to Iranian, Persian and Turkish literature on the ground floor right before one takes the stairs to the first floor. It is clear that this establishment has strong Mediterranean vibes.
Right on cue, my starter named Koftah arrives. No, not Cofta —the cough drops you are likely to be thinking about— but a sour-tasting Persian delicacy garnished with tomatoes. Minutes later, our main courses arrive. At Sh650, the kids’ boxes are a study in value for money.
Each has three pieces of grilled lamb patties, three fish fingers, two sausages and French fries! And enticingly presented too. I steal a taste before the little tyrants are back and find the fries thick and well cooked.
My chicken is soft and tasty too, with the mushrooms’ creaminess complementing the chicken’s spicy tasty. Two vegetable sides crowd the well-cooked rice. The kids enjoy the meal but cannot finish their portions.
Faridah, our designated staff member, packs it neatly for us to take home. The kids then discover a waiting bell, which they promptly start misusing, causing several waiters to rush to our table.
Then the kids order drinks before I dispatch them to the play area. “I need some wine,” I tell Faridah. She smiles. “This is an alcohol-free zone,” she says.
“Neither do we allow any of our patrons to enjoy in any they might have brought even if they are hosting a party here,” she adds. She can tell that I am not entertaining very peaceable thoughts as she offers shisha, the only stimulant on offer.
I politely decline and ask for their mocktail list, which I find quite extensive. It more than makes up for the lack of alcohol, especially as several Muslim faithful are enjoying meals with friends and families all around me.
The meat here is also Halal. I settle on a strawberry daiquiri, which I find tart and sweet. It is just right. I order for baklava, a Mediterranean multilayered cake, for dessert since my kids have somehow found the pizza kiln and are busy making tiny pizzas with the help of two sous-chefs.
The baklava turns out to be too sweet. Faridah encourages me to take it with coffee the next time round as coffee complements the sugar. The kids finish making their tiny pizzas with their choice dressing and put them on spatulas so they can place them in the kilns.
Their cute baked labours of love each costs me Sh550. Pizza making for kids is only done during weekends, as that is when most kids frequent the eatery. The pizzas are packed as we all leave sated and with sincere promises to be back. Probably to try their kebabs!