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Urban Café with Miriam Angila

10AM TO 3PM

EATING OUT: Dining at Kisumu’s Acacia Premier Hotel’s Aqua Bar

Aqua Bar

After a long (and usually very hot) day, you get the feeling that your worries and stresses of the day end the moment you step out of the elevator on the second floor of Acaia Hotel as Aqua Bar offers you a front row seat to a spectacular view of Kisumu evening skyline.

Far beyond in the horizon, the sun now looking like one big orange ball is going to bed casting orange embers on the sky and the lovely  calm waters of Lake Victoria. A cool breeze evening sweeps from the lake to the heart of the city. Just what I need after the hectic day I had in the office.

I am here for dinner after having a business meeting with an associate at the same hotel. I am told Aqua Bar was not meant for dining but the hotel had to cave in to demands by the guests who wanted to enjoy their meals as they look into the lake, enjoying the breeze like I am doing tonight. The lake though is not all you can enjoy from here. I hadn’t noticed the beauty of Kisumu architecture like I did from this elevation. Varsity Plaza on the left looks extremely beautiful with the reflection of the setting sun hitting it’s left wing. You can take awesome photos from here even if you are not a professional photographer.

My appreciation of this view is temporarily interfered with when Mildred, one of the many waiters serving the bar area comes in to take my order. She seems to recognize that she is intruding a solemn moment and profusely apologizes for it. I first order a glass of juice as I fumble through the main course menu asking a lot of questions which she gently answers. You never want to go wrong with food so there is no shame in asking.

My policy with food is that it has to take me on a journey. The story behind it has to as be great as it looks (and tastes). Yes food have stories. Mildred tells me if I am new to Kisumu she would suggest fish but I am not new in here though I must add that they really make amazing fish. Tonight I will go Indian with Lamb Rogan Josh served with rice. That’s nicely chopped lamb cubes slowly cooked in Indian spices. Though it is a popular Kashmir cuisine, this was an originally Persian cuisine brought to India by the Mughals.

She goes away with my order as I continue enjoying my view which in itself has an interesting story as the food. In my immediate foreground lies a huge track of land that from up here looks like one big forest. The land belongs to the Kenya Railway Corporation. Beyond it lies the Kisumu Railway Station and the Kisumu pier. The city of Kisumu owes it’s status to these two. It developed as a transport hub in the precolonial era. The railway line which was built by Indian workers ended here while goods from Mombasa proceeded with their journey inland to Uganda via Lake Victoria. After the the railway building work ended in 19o1 most of these Indian workers settled in Kisumu and that is why the town has a huge population of Asians of Indian decent. With them came their cuisine.

Like I expected dinner was very spicy but very lovely. Served in traditional Indian steel pots. I ate to the last grain of rice and the last cube of lamb.

The area before the hotel which I was telling you now looks like a forest was once inhabited by antelopes and impalas. It borders the Kisumu Impala Park which is today a sanctuary to numerous wild animals including lions, giraffes and rhinos. Depending on where you are seated, you could catch a glimpse of it.

On this particular evening other than my view the ambiance is very inviting. Cool music is oozing from the speakers in the rock-like cases that beautifully blend with the overall decor of the bar area. It’s not the music that makes you want to sleep – in fact if they pumped up the volume just a a few decibels up you would start dancing but it’s Monday so we will be okay with it like it is.

I am not the only one here on this Monday evening. There is a group that has reserved the next booth from where I am seated for a private function. There is a couple to my right in another booth. On the other side of the swimming pool which sits in the middle of the bar area are several other groups of clients having drinks – who says Mondays can’t be fun?

If you are looking for a place to hang out and cool off from work or are planning that end year event for your office then why not look this way!

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