‘What’s your plan today?’ my wife asked.
‘I’m going to play golf.’
‘But you haven’t played for… it must be more than 10 years. And, anyway, it looks as though it’s going to rain.’
‘That’s Ok, I will be playing indoors!’
‘What do you mean?’
Then I told her about the 1872 restaurant that is not too far from us in Lavington. It is just round the corner, in fact – at 46 Kabarsiran Avenue, off Convent Drive. It has a golf simulator, and I fancied trying it out – and also trying some Korean food.
Later in the day, I drove there. It took me a couple of minutes, which was about the time I lasted driving in the simulator, because I quickly felt the twinge of my metal hip. Perhaps it is getting a bit rusty – like my golf. So I couldn’t even try to match the challenge given in the restaurant’s name – to complete a full 18 holes in a par score of 72.
I asked Evans, one of the staff, to show me how the simulator should be properly played, and what you can learn from it.
This is how it works. There are four quite spacious booths – the three in the building are for right-handed golfers; the one in the garden, in a tent, is for left-handers. The hole you are playing is on the screen. Another ball conveniently pops up for you after every shot.
You can choose to play on any one of a number of courses. But Evans first showed me the driving range where, for each shot, you get feedback on the distance reached, its direction, the angle of launch, and the degree of spin.
He then chose to demonstrate on the Edinburgh course. You can adjust the height of the tee for your drive. For the next shot, depending on where the ball lands, you play off a piece of carpet replicating a smooth fairway, rough grass or a bunker.
The playing fee varies according to the time of day. From mid-day to 4pm, it costs Sh1,200 per hour; from 4pm to 11pm, it’s Sh1,800. You can, of course, play as a group of up to six people with the same cost per hour as if you are on your own. The scores are conveniently displayed for you.
We could hear the laughter of a group playing in one of the other rooms – it must be great fun. The bar is on the same upstairs floor, too!
The restaurant takes up most of the ground floor and a wide veranda looking out to the garden. It offers a choice of Korean or Indian dishes. I ordered a Wananchi Lager while browsing the menu. But it didn’t take me long to choose the orange chicken with chips. The chicken was served in small and juicy balls with a very pleasant sweet and sour flavour.
The chips were chunky and crisp. It was a good choice, but it was a huge serving – far too much for me. It could have satisfied a family of four – provided the two children were much younger than hungry teenagers. Next time, perhaps I should pay more attention to the starters, though my eyes did pause over the chilli garlic mushrooms.
Talking of children, there is a play room off the main dining room. It has all manner of toys, including the largest pile of teddy bears I have ever seen. There is a play area in the garden, too. It must be a great place for a children’s party – plenty of space and plenty of attractions.
So, the 1872 Restaurant and Bar is a welcome addition to the many restaurants and bars that have opened and enlivened Lavington in recent years. I will be going back to test out my hip on the driving range.
John Fox is Chairman of iDC Email: [email protected]