Pili Jehti offered one of the best welcome gifts one could receive when they are shaking off jet lag — a shot of Patron overlooking the Nairobi skyline.
The owner of Benares wanted to do something a cut above the myriad of Indian restaurants in the city and opened a restaurant that feels like you are walking into the dining room of a Mughal emperor. Ganesh greets you from a number of places and a candlelit lotus flower illuminates your path through the door.
According to Pili, the food can be defined as modern continental Indian cuisine. From the shisha to the shrimp the experience is thoughtfully appointed. “There are a lot of Indian restaurants in Nairobi, and I was trying not to replicate what they do. I wanted something different. Nobody ever diversifies with Indian food, and I wanted to do something about that. After a lot of effort, I think I pulled it off.”
Located in the Westlands neighbourhood, the clientele is decidedly upmarket. From accomplished artists and entrepreneurs to young professionals and the hippest brand of a government official, people come for the tasty morsels and because of Jehti himself.
You can see him greeting the crowd and his personal friends warmly throughout your meal. It is easy to lose an entire night in this place. The seats are plush, the colours rich, and the succulent smells make you want to order round after round (of food).
If you’ve spent a few days in Nairobi and have reached your ugali limit — we suggest heading over to Benares for a true dining experience. The cherry mint shisha is a good way to start the night alongside a martini and the tandoori prawns. You can’t go wrong from there.
Benares is located in Nivina Towers opposite the CFC Stanbic Bank on Westlands Rd., Nairobi. You can call ahead to make a reservation, which is definitely suggested.
Benares Indian Restaurant
Address: Westlands Rd.
Phone number: +254 374 7364