There is a space in Utalii House which has a history of changing names whenever there is a new management and, or ownership. The name which had been associated with this place for a very long time was Habesha, an Ethiopian restaurant which has a branch on Argwings-Khodek Road.
I discovered this venue has gone through its most recent transformation with the venue having the name, Campia Ethiopian Lounge. The new look restaurant, as mentioned, has Ethiopian as the food on its menu but the look is definitely matching with the current lounge trends. The entry to the place at Utalii house has a little ramp for anyone with a wheelchair to access the venue making it disability friendly.
When I walked into the restaurant, which had a rather faded sign at the front, it made me wonder just how long this version of the place has been. I hadn't been to this side of town for a while. The place still has the same layout as when I was last here – the front area which has a counter across from the entrance. Then there is a door to the left where one walks down to the outer area. Here one saw the place in its true glory. There were red lounge seats where one could sit and order their meals and drinks.
My date and I made my order for food and drinks – my cold Tusker was retailing at Sh250, and the Ethiopian food was averaging at between Sh500 and Sh1,500 depending on your order. The only thing that I noted was that perhaps I was being picky and the waiters who looked Ethiopian seemed to have a problem understanding my orders. I had to use a lot of signs and pointing. We were able to get the message across though. As I looked around I noted that those who loved to smoke shisha also had this as an option.
The décor in here was not bad. There was also a few TVs overhead for those who would have liked to watch their favourite South American teams battle it out in the Copa America football tournament. The crowd here with us was an interesting mix. Some looked like they came from the nearby universities, while there were also a few older professionals.
A quick recap of the venue:
Good: Decent décor, satisfactory service, amazing food, clean washrooms, disability friendly, shisha smokers welcome, TV for the sports fanatic.
Bad: Emergency exits not convincing.
My verdict: A decent place with great Ethiopian food just off Uhuru Highway. It might especially come in handy when escaping the traffic on that road.