From farm to fork at Ranch House Bistro

Why Nairobians love eating out in Naivasha on free weekends

Harriet James

Despite the fact that people complain about Naivasha being a frequently visited tourist destination, there’s something about this place that keeps drawing adventure lovers.

I discovered recently that apart from hotels and lodges, Naivasha has plenty of restaurants where one can have a great time with family or friends. Located in Naivasha’s South Lake road for instance is Ranch House Bistro, an ideal eating-place for those who desire to break out from the hustle and bustle of city life. Or just to avoid hotel meals. 

I opted to have my lunch there and being a solo traveller, there’s nothing that one appreciates more than meeting a warm staff wherever you go. Since it was a weekend, the restaurant was packed, so I would advice those who desire to come here to make a reservation otherwise they will be disappointed.

I loved the stunning views of Lake Naivasha and though I opted to eat at the veranda as the lawns were fully occupied, I still could have a glimpse of Lake Oloiden (Lake Naivasha’s baby lake) from a distance.

The eatery’s garden is beautiful and well manicured, shaded by acacia trees. The ambiance is fantastic, offering guests the cozy feel of being at home in a farm upcountry. Taking the concept of farm to fork dining to a whole new level?  I was served with a glass of strawberry juice to cool me off while I went through the menu items that afternoon. Lydia Aoro, the manager of the restaurant joined me and assisted me choose the best meal for that day. I was told they cook the best steak in Naivasha, but since I have some Luhya blood in me, I couldn’t help but settle to partake chicken schnitzel topped with fried eggs with fries on the side. “Many Nairobeans come here for the steak as it’s tender and fresh,” Lydia said.  “We are also renown for having the best Italian pizzas with the best ingredients around,” she added.

Maybe I will try the steak next time.   Formerly an Old Italian house and dairy farm with spacious lawns, Ranch House Bistro first opened its doors in November 2014. June Zwager, the matriarch of Oserian Flower Farm, then transformed it into a beautiful bistro with culinary delights and signature cocktails.

Given the amazing views of the lake, the owners wanted to create a venue for all to enjoy. After four years and consultations from some of their clients, the management felt that it was time for a revamp the farm house. In addition, they changed some of their menu as the clients demanded adjustments.

“It took us three weeks to revamp this place. With the assistance of the head chef and food consultants, we have been able to work out a menu that our clients can enjoy,” says Lydia as she takes me through some of the foods that they have in the menu.  The restaurant is open seven days a week.

For desserts, the eatery offers traditional tiramisu, which I am told is a popular choice for Nairobians dining here. Although the restaurant is dog friendly, dogs must be kept on a leash at all times.

Starters range from Sh750 and the main course from Sh850, while desserts cost Sh750 or more. Roughly, budget to spend Sh3,000 per person.

A ‘combo’ package includes a 90 minute game drive at the expansive 18,000-acre Oserengoni Wildlife Sanctuary in a land cruiser. Being a game drive lover, I settled for this package and got to enjoy watching the wildebeests, the ostrich, zebras, warthogs, Impalas, giraffes and learn about the vegetation as well. As part of their conservation measure, I got a chance to disperse some cotton ball seeds to the ground as they assist in the greening process.  A warm fire over wine after the entire experience was most enjoyable.

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