The Kenyan Nomad

The Kenyan Nomad

Thursday, November 16, 2017

30 Desserts, Dishes and Drinks in Nairobi You MUST Try!

Doing restaurant reviews is always fun, but sometimes, it's nice to put together a collection such that one knows what to order from a BUNCH of different places.

Think of this as a culinary bucket list, if you will - but do remember that it is by no means exhaustive! In fact, a part 2 is on the way just because we had so many (and maybe a part 3 may be in order ;) ). This list was put together by yours truly, with input from a few friends and coworkers from McKinsey (thanks Darshani, Ekta, Kui, Ronald and the rest)!

Special thanks to Dashani and Ekta, and to the restaurants who sent me pictures :)

P.S.: Yes, I know, I know, the title. I couldn't resist!

1. The passion fruit cheesecake from Zen Garden. This has probably been one of my greatest discoveries since I moved back to Kenya! It is SO GOOD. For my best friend and I, it's kind of become 'our dish' since we're both so in love with it. Speaking of, I remember that I need to go back for a visit soon!

2. Pepper steak from About Thyme. About Thyme is already a favourite for so many reasons - their amazing ambience and great service are just the icing on their cake. I first tried their pepper steak about 2 years ago, and I was hooked. The onion rings on top are a perfect touch, I think!

3. The Diavola pizza from 360 Degrees Pizza. Spice and yum is all I can say about this one! If you haven't yet, please do go and give it a try. Plus, it's pizza. Who says no to pizza?!

4. Butter naan from Hashmi. Okay, so pretty much anything you order from Hashmi will be amazing, but their naans are to DIE for. Easily the best in Nairobi, I think. Soft, buttery goodness that melts in your mouth and goes with just about anything on their menu.

5. Salted caramel cake from Artcaffe. If anyone has told you that the tricolad is the best dessert on Artcaffe's menu - they're wrong. First of all, salt + caramel = perfection. Second of all, the way Artcaffe puts them together? Perfection squared! If I haven't yet convinced you to order it the next time you visit, maybe this picture will.

6. Chilli chicken at Paparoti in the Goan Gymkhana. This one is one that I haven't personally tasted myself, but it comes highly recommended by a trusted source. In fact, he went so far as to say that 'Paparoti is the best Indian restaurant in town.' Now, we'll just have to go ourselves to find out how true this is, won't we?

7. Meat lasagna at La Salumeria. First of all, it's lasagna. Second of all, it's La Salumeria. Need I say more?!

8. Waffles at Connect Coffee on Riverside Drive. You may have heard tell of a mystical place that specialises in coffee and waffles. I was introduced to this place by a colleague at McKinsey and lemme tell you one thing - Oh. My. God. Their waffles. Amazingly done, and perfectly complemented by ice cream and strawberries. MAJOR yums. Also, look how beautiful it is!!

9. Malindi Macchiato at Java House. Java is the comfort joint for many Nairobians, and their Malindi Macchiato is one you should definitely try the next time you're there. It's also rather unique to Kenya, so you're probably not going to find this one elsewhere.

10. Mango Masaai Mama burger at Mama Rocks. Who'd have known that a burger could be so much fun? This burger, were it a person, would be one of my best friends. I'm not a huge burger person - I mean, I like them, but I've never really craved them - but when it comes to Mama Rocks, I most definitely am! I've found myself longingly thinking of this burger, sometimes in the middle of a meal! Their chilli mango sauce makes this burger absolutely amazing, and I can't wait to have it again. In case you think I'm biased, I'll have you know that quite a few people I've spoken to also think that Mama Rocks has the best burgers in town!

11. Crackling paneer from Chowpatty. I wish I had a picture of this, but on second thought, my workout routine probably couldn't handle the visual onslaught. I had this for the first time at a work party we organised last month and honestly? I probably could've kept eating this all afternoon and evening. As soon as I could, I went home and confirmed that yes, this was indeed a regular menu item. Phew! I'm coming for you, Chowpatty!

12. Oreo milkshake from Urban Eatery. Given that I work in the building, you'd think that I'd be sick of Urban Eatery by now - but that's absolutely NOT the case. In fact, I had a hard time actually limiting the number of items from Urban Eatery (and Zen Garden, another favourite) that I put on this list and its sequel! So let's take a moment to talk about their Oreo milkshake. It's SO good, that I've actually gotten derailed from ordering other things in favour of this. I once went down for a beer - ended up ordering this milkshake. Was craving a chicken pie from Urban one day - ended up walking out with the milkshake. Went to Urban SPECIFICALLY to try their freakshakes. Nope, still got the Oreo milkshake. The staff probably needs to start wrestling it away from me by now!

13. Arbor cassata from the Arbor. I've never been much of a cassata fan - in fact, I've always thought it tasted vaguely of soap. When I went to the Arbor to do the Christmas review last year, this was on the menu, and something in me shrugged and said - sure, why not? Best decision EVER. Not only did it NOT taste of soap, but I fell in love. With raspberry sorbet, vanilla ice cream and glazed fruits, it was a match made in heaven. The sorbet was absolutely delicious and just the right amount of sharp and tangy, which perfectly complemented the sweet creaminess of the vanilla ice cream.

14. Pepperoni pizza from Chicago The Pizza Place in Sarit Centre. For as long as I can remember, for as long as I've been going to the Sarit Centre from when I was a wee child, I've been in love with their pepperoni pizza. There's just something amazing about a place that has maintained its standards over the years - their pizza actually tastes just as, if not more, amazing as it used to be!

15. Salt and pepper vegetables from For You Chinese Restaurant. I think restaurants in Nairobi do Chinese food really well, and For You is no exception. There've been many days at work when we've needed to order lunch or dinner, and For You always emerged as a strong contender. Many a time, I've been tempted to just order their salt and pepper vegetables because they're just that good! The batter is perfect, they're fresh and crisp and spicy and yummy, and now I'm hungry...

16. Dynamite roll from Urban Eatery. Perfectly fresh, crunchy, with just the right amount of flavour. I take mine with a bit of soy sauce, but you really could do without!

17. Chicken biryani from Ismailia. For those picky eaters, like myself, it comes boneless! It's perfectly made, and then baked with a phulka on top that you pierce before eating. It's quite popular in Nairobi, for good reason!

18. Halloumi fries at Mercado. I haven't yet tried these, so on my list too! Given that this is an authentic Mexican restaurant, it's definitely on my to do list for sooner rather than later.

19. Chiken tinga tortillas at Mercado.

20. Trio of dips at Hob House.

21. Poussin chicken from Pizza Corner.

22. Slow grilled rib of beef with truffle sauce at Sierra Bar and Grill. Look at how gorgeous this is!

23. Coffee at Spring Valley Artisan Coffee. I know, this is a new name for most of you, and you were probably expecting me to recommend coffee from a bigger chain, right? Nope! Give these guys a try, they're definitely worth it. The best brewed coffee in Nairobi, I believe!

24. Chicken 65 from Nyama Mama. I'm loving the trend of modern African fusion type cuisine that's popping up over the city! Nyama Mama is a little newer on the block, but is a pretty cool place to be.

25. Tom kha ghai chicken coconut soup from Urban Eatery. I am a HUGE fan of Thai food, and an equally huge fan of this soup! A perfect complement to any meal, or a meal on its own if you're not looking to do something too huge, this'll definitely warm your soul and leave you begging for more.

26. Mulled wine at the Arbor. Okay, okay, so this isn't exactly on their menu - yet. However, consider this my single-handed petition! I tried this at the Christmas review I mentioned earlier, and I was hooked. I would drink this ALL THE TIME if I could! Don't take my word for it though - other patrons of the Arbor loved it too!!

27. Chocolate fudge cake from Java House. You really didn't think this decadence would be off this list, did you? Pure indulgence, this is hashtag treat yourself alllll the way. Perfectly sinful and sweet, it's a treat you won't regret!

28. Chargrilled halloumi sandwich at Zen Garden. Look, I'm not even going to try sell this one to you myself. It's a chargrilled halloumi sandwich with charred mushrooms and basil pesto. Isn't that enough to tempt you?! Spoiler alert: I'm a huge fan. It's light enough to not completely weigh you down, so you can order some of their yummy chips to go alongside!

29. Mr. Hendrick's Basil Smash at the Balcony Bar (Villa Rosa Kempinski).

30. Irresistible sticky date pudding from About Thyme. I can personally confirm that this is, indeed, irresistible!

Liked this post? Please feel free to like, comment AND share! And let me know what I should include in part 3 ;)


My food safari said...

Hiya! Loving your reviews! Have you tried Boho Eatery in Karen? Lots of fun stuff on their menu!

Kavata said...

Yummy food

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