“We were so happy and did not feel like working the rest of the day.”
This was the first statement Fayaz Daya of Barka Restaurant in Mombasa said when asked how he felt after President Uhuru Kenyatta and other prominent leaders visited the joint on Wednesday.
It was just a normal day like another at Barka Restaurant. Customers were coming in to have their lunch at the hotel famously known for its Swahili delicacies.
Mr Daya, who is a cashier at the restaurant, says they saw a convoy parking at around 1:30pm at the restaurant located on Kibokoni Road in Mombasa Old Town and to their surprise, President Kenyatta and other prominent leaders entered the eatery.
“The visit was abrupt. Everyone was taken by surprise because the visit was unexpected. The customers stood up and others were lucky to greet the President. We were so happy and did not feel like working the rest of the day. The only topic then was about the President’s visit,” Mr Daya said.
Mr Daya added that the President was accompanied by Deputy President William Ruto, House Majority Leaders Aden Duale (National Assembly) and Kipchumba Murkomen (Senate).
President Kenyatta and the other leaders headed straight to the VIP lounge, which can host about 60 people to have their finger-licking lunch.
“At the VIP lounge, a buffet which costs Sh1,000 per person, was ready for the guests. President Kenyatta ordered a plate of biryani, chicken tikka, chapati, mchicha (amaranthus) and tamarind juice,” he said adding that the team spent about 45 minutes enjoying their sumptuous food.
After lunch, the President addressed a crowd outside the joint and thanked them for the hearty welcome.
He also urged the people to continue living in harmony, then he entered his car and was driven off.
Mr Daya, like other people in the crowd, were left to ponder the events of that day. He is thankful that the President chose to eat at their restaurant once again.
“This is the third time the President is visiting our restaurant. He is a very social and humble person, and him visiting our joint is a great honour,”Mr Daya added.
Barka Restaurant was established in 2010 and its clients go there in droves to enjoy their mouthwatering delicacies like shawarma, biryani, Swahili pizza, among other Swahili dishes.
“President Kenyatta has visited the joint twice during lunch hours and once for dinner when he was touring the Mombasa Old Town to inspect Fort Jesus back in 2016,” he recalled.
Mr Daya said that many prominent people such as Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko, Senator James Orengo, Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho, and former National Assembly Deputy Speaker Farah Maalim, just to mention but a few have eaten at the restaurant.
The cashier said the hotel banks on good customer service, ample surrounding and good food to ensure best customer service.
“All Kenyans and tourists should visit us because many have tried us and stayed with us. All we promise is best customer service. We also do renovations year in year out to maintain our standards,” he added.