By Charlie Burger

The Charlie’s Burger East African Culinary Diary

1. Stop over in Doha, Qatar.

La Maison Du Caviar:
World famous French bistro and caviar outlet originally opened in Paris at the demand of the Shah of Iran in 1956. Now has an outpost in the “W” hotel. Stopped in for aperitif and a bite of Italian farmed caviar served simply with crème fresh and blinis.

Jean George’s Spice Market (“W” Hotel):
I had the opportunity to chat with the Executive Chef Prakash Seetul. It so happens that he had a long tenure within some of Canada’s top
hotels, most notably the Wedgwood in Vancouver and the Four Seasons Toronto. Food was terrific and the service very attentive. Chef sent out an amazing sashimi platter to start. Very similar menu to Spice Market NYC.

Had drinks at Wham Bar in the “W” Hotel following dinner. As per local
laws, both Madame Burger and I had to have special photo IDs made at
the entrance of the bar in order to consume alcoholic drinks… Quite

Villagio Mall:
New Mall designed with a Venice theme. Yes they have canals and gondolas in the mall… Very Vegas.

The famous French bakery has an outpost in the mall, had a terrific Gallettes Des Rois…

Le Notre:
The top French caterer de Luxe Gaston Le Notre has a restaurant within the Mall and an adjacent patisserie. Had a Salade de crabe and ordered 2 dozen macaroons to take back to Toronto… Still eating them now…

24hr Moroccan restaurant in the famous Souk Waqif. Arrived at the resto around 4am and the place was surprisingly busy. Ordered some
assorted finger foods, sipped Moroccan tea while smoking a Hookah forand hour and half while we watched the night turn to day. I was most impressed by the Hookah service. A very attentive “Hookah waiter” does nothing but stroke a fire in order to extract the best ambers, then does his round to each Hookah replacing burnt out ambers with fresh ones. It is quite a show watching him twirl his pan full of ambers precariously around tables in order to have the hottest coal possible…

2. Kenya


Small local joint, amazing Chicken Tika, garlic Indian spiced fries…

Slightly more upscale Indian food.

Art Café: New café on the block, in Westlands Mall, looks like a mix of Panera and Pastis in NYC…

Fairmont Norfolk Hotel, Lord Delamere Bar:
Terrace bar overlooking the street. Bar open in 1904 oldest watering hole in Nairobi. Lots of old world charm.

Tribe Hotel:
Modern, very funky hotel. Had drinks in the lobby bar and by the pool outside.

Long-time staple game meat restaurant. Game meat is increasingly hard to find. They only had Crocodile and ostrich… Found
better game meat from locals…
Game meat eaten in Africa: Impala Samosas, Guinea Fowl, Antelope, Camel, Gazelle, Crocodile, Ostrich.

Masaii Mara:
Cottars 1920’s Safari Camp: Opened in 1919, the camp has attempted to preserve all the charm from that era. All furnishing etc… Looks marvellous…

Aberdare Country Club: Historic British country club with amazing gardens and great wildlife roaming the surrounding grounds. Throw back to the colonial area of safari… Chatted with the GM and the property was recently purchased by Fairmont Hotels, which will be revamping the property come next year.

Trout Tree: Trout farm a few mile from the equator. Restaurant builtwithin the trees. Simple menu consisting of; you guest it; Trout… Very tasty, very fresh. Be aware that resident Colobus Monkeys might attempt to steal your food at any point…

Yul’s: Great Gelato made fresh daily. Great Pizza. (Almost as good as Terroni)

Street food:
Mogo Chips: in an area called Lighthouse. Casava sliced directly into hot oil then tossed in lime and Chili… Big bag will run you 40cents.
Coconut: for a few cents a palm tree climber will scale a palm tree with no equipment whatsoever, then select a coconut at the top, descend and crack it open for you.
Ugali (basically a maize meal polenta) & Sukuma (greens, like spinach) – This is the staple meal for many in E. Africa.
“One/Ones”: Mandazi (think African donut) stuffed with 1 Veg samosa and 1 meat samosa topped with spicy chillies.

Best meal: Found Madagascar Shrimp in Nairobi fish market! Largest I have seen, larger even than the ones at Roka in London. Each shrimp approx 12 inches. Marinated with Indian spices then grilled.

Charlie Burger was born in Holland in 1919, just at the close of World War 1. Having spent a life working within some of the top dining establishments across the globe, Charlie relocated to Toronto in 1999. After a few enjoyable years of retirement, CB decided to start Charlie’s Burgers. The rest is history.