Wasp and Sprout – Nairobi, Kenya

Wasp and Sprout is a wonderful quirky cafe/coffee boutique hidden away in the Old Loresho Shopping centre. A little difficult to find but when you do and you walk into the cafe its charm, eclectic decor and dreamy African interiors attracts you instantly. It is perfect for those Instagram snaps with its design, colours and rustic feel and believe me I now want cushions for my dining chairs the same as the ones pictured below.

The Cafe doubles up as a store/showroom, showcasing various items from paintings, cushions (I have my eye on them), dresses, purses, lampshades, jewellery and so much more. All the items are stunning pieces and if you are looking for African inspired products this is the place for you. I had to control myself as my luggage was already overflowing.

 

img_0273img_0274

My friend Harpreet joined me and we pondered over the menu, which was fun, extensive and very reasonably priced. We were starting our day off there before joining our friend Meera for lunch so we opted for a light breakfast and picked the fruit salad.

We chose our coffees and then chatted away about life, blogging and our hopes and dreams. The coffee was pretty darn good and the perfect caffeine fuelled kickstart to the day.

img_0271
The cafe itself is really spacious and there were lots of people working away on laptops and it was definitely the perfect cafe to do that. I would totally have brought my laptop and blogged if I had known. The wifi is decent too.

It is the kind of place you could settle in for hours with lovely music in the background, the cute flower pots adorning each wooden table and the colourful creative space.

Intrigued by the dream behind this venue, as it is pretty unique, I had a quick read of their website, where they state:

The Wasp symbolizes the resilience of Africa and its people. Sprout, the new beginning and growth of our team.

That is rather lovely and it is so nice how they champion lesser know fair trade and environmentally friendly products in their cafe. It is a different style of shopping where you can leisurely look at the items whilst enjoying a coffee or a meal. Some of the products are just so incredible and it always amazes me how much talent there is in Kenya and so glad that artists are being given such a great opportunity to show case their work.

img_0270img_0272

If you are looking for a nice new venue for breakfast, brunch or lunch, Wasp and Sprout, although it may be a little tricky to find the first time, is totally worth it. In fact, if you are looking for a new coffee shop to work from this is perfect and its such a edgy, artsy space that it is bound to get your creative juices flowing.

Wasp and Sprout can be found at the following location.

 

The Arbor Restaurant, Nairobi

If there was a restaurant in Nairobi that would win an award in my opinion for its Instagram worthiness it would be The Arbor, in Lavington. When my girlfriends, Meera and Harpreet, who also happen to be bloggers, picked The Arbor for our catch up lunch I knew they would have picked somewhere dreamy and I was right!

From rustic wine bottles as centrepieces, decorative charms, hanging bottles and potted plants and flowers everywhere, it is the ultimate garden cafe for al fresco dining. You can even purchase plants if you want, which if I lived in Nairobi I probably would as they all looked so lush and pretty.

6174636736_img_65376174636736_img_6539

To start with we picked cocktails and mocktails. I went for the Tamarind Mojito, which was delicious! I very rarely deviate from a classic mojito but this one was really nice that I wish I knew how to replicate it!

6174636736_img_6544

The menu has so many amazing sounding dishes and is really good if you are a vegetarian. It has a nice selection of Asian dishes and so I decided to go for the Nasi Lemak. The presentation was fantastic and all the various flavours were so intriguing and tasty.

6174636736_img_6549

Meera went for the Grilled Halloumi Burger, which was grilled in a peri peri sauce and topped with onions, pepper and mushrooms and served with a side of chips and salad. We had predicted she would choose this :o)

6174636736_img_6545

Harpeet chose the Thai Green Curry, which looked divine. This was served with a side of rice and she really enjoyed it.

6174636736_img_6551

I loved the presentation of all 3 dishes and the helpings were so generous that we couldn’t manage any dessert. We had an amazing time catching up and nattering away though.

The venue is stunning and the type which is perfect for a date, girly catch up or to really impress a client. I couldn’t get over its rustic yet charming decor and all the prettiness everywhere.

6174636736_img_6541

Inside is a shop where you can buy home decor items. I didn’t dare look as I knew I wouldn’t be able to resist and our luggage to go back was already close to being over weight.

This is also the kind of place where you would want to be at during golden hour with a cocktail in hand as it is seriously swoon worthy.

If you are in Nairobi, or visiting, I would recommend The Arbor for lunch and I think it is  definitely one of the most stunning al fresco venues I have seen in Nairobi.

While the girls did treat me to lunch, I did have a peek at the prices on the menu and they were really reasonable! I really enjoyed the food and the ambience and thought the service was excellent. My verdict is it is a fabulous restaurant and one I would definitely return to on my next visit to Kenya.

The Arbor can be found next to Ebru TV, James Gichuru Rd, Lavington, 69671 – 00400, Nairobi, Kenya

 

Lunch at The Talisman Restaurant, Nairobi, Kenya

In the fabulous suburb of Karen, named after Karen Blixen, is an amazing restaurant with beautiful indoor and outdoor seating and the kind of place where you would want to spend your day and simply not move. The decor is gorgeous and personally, the best spot is outdoors for Al Fresco dining. It is one of Nairobi’s top rated restaurants and it really is excellent.

6174615856_img_62306176644928_img_6227

We chose to have lunch at the Talisman as we were already in the suburb of Karen visiting the Giraffe Centre that day, which, by the way, is a fabulous Giraffe sanctuary where you can feed and kiss Giraffes. Intrigued? Read more here.

It was a hot Nairobi day and so we decided to cool off with a Mojito and a Dawa whilst we decided on what we wanted to eat. Now everyone knows Mojitos are my weakness and my preferred drink. However, when in Kenya I am often torn between Mojitos and Dawas. I found the solution to this is to get Amit to order the Dawa so I can have a few cheeky sips so I can have the best of both!

img_8123

Choosing the food was hard because everything sounded good! There is a really good selection and we settled with the Feta and Coriander Samosas, which are served with chilli ginger jam for one of our starters.

6176644928_img_6216

They were such crispy, perfectly cooked triangles of delight!

We also picked the Talisman nyati wings, which I had heard so much about, and which are served with blue cheese sauce and peri-peri butter. You can pick the level of heat of these ranging from mild to taliban so I decided to go for hot.

6176644928_img_6212

I have to say they totally lived up to the hype and were utterly delicious! The marinade was addictive and I could have eaten a whole other plate of these! The blue cheese that was served with it was amazing.

For our mains I went for the Ginger Teriyaki Tofu with capsicum, carrots, zucchini and Jasmine Rice. This was a generous portion and I did get defeated half way through although it was really scrumptious.

6174615856_img_6223

I loved the way it was presented on a wooden board and it was so full of flavour. The ingredients used were all so fascinating and fresh and I would definitely order this again or recommend this dish for mains.

Amit chose the Fish n’ Chips, which were a beer battered tilapia served with delicious fat chips, tartare sauce and talisman slaw. It was really good as well and he really enjoyed it! Fish and chips is a classic and Talisman do a fantastic version.

6176644928_img_6224

The food was excellent as was the service and we found it really relaxing – almost like having lunch in someone’s garden with birds chirping in the background.  The ambience was wonderful and the cocktails were superb so even if you want a good venue for drinks Talisman is perfect for that too!

6174615856_img_6218

We were so full we couldn’t manage dessert but definitely on the cards for next time we are in Nairobi! There is a good variety for both vegetarians and non-vegetarians.

If you are in Nairobi or planning to visit I highly recommend the Talisman. It is, in my opinion, one of the finest restaurants Nairobi has to offer. I would personally recommend going for lunch as it is so lovely in the day time but it is equally good for dinner too! I would combine it with sight seeing in Karen, as there is lots to see and do in the area.

The Talisman can be found at 320 Ngong Road, Karen, Nairobi, Kenya

Jumba Ruins and Monsoon restaurant – hidden gems in Mtwapa, Kenya

Jumba la Mtwana, or Jumba Ruins as it is more popularly referred to, is a hidden historical site found in the buzzing town of Mtwapa, popularly known for its Creekside restaurants and beautiful sea views.

6241684080_img_66666241684080_img_6676

I am going to start this post with a confession that despite being born and raised in Mombasa, I had not made it to these ruins before. Sometimes it takes leaving a place to reflect, respect and appreciate what you had right in front of you and it is only now that I truly appreciate how rife with history Mombasa actually is and I have so much interest in putting all the puzzles together of the various centuries and the different influences it had on how Mombasa is today both culturally, architecturally and especially its impact on food, ingredients available and general lifestyle. That is what brought me to visit the site on a recent trip.

The ruins tell part of a story of a civilization during what was believed to be the 14th century, at a time when the East African coast was a significant trade hub and thriving commercially. The name Jumba la Mtwana is Kiswahili and translates as “House of the Slave”, which possibly tells another part of the tale. I did try to research more about the 14th century but struggled to find much as most documented history begins from the 15th century onwards so if anyone is a history buff and knows more please do get in touch!

6241684080_img_66636241684080_img_6664

The ruins are located close to the beach and many of the buildings which you see today at the site were excavated in 1972 by James Kirkman. There appears to be several houses, mosques and a tomb within the site.

In 1982, the year I was born (telling my age now), was when it was considered to be a national monument. Rumour has it that there may still be more ruins around the site which have not yet been uncovered so in future I would like to return and see if any more is known about the residents of this town.

What is speculated is that they abandoned the site in the 15th century as they ran out of fresh water supplies. This has not been documented or confirmed anywhere so is down to pure speculation. The 15th century is also when the Portuguese arrived and they were known to notoriously burn and rob various towns during their time on the island.

What interested me were the use of arches which was prominent in the design, the materials used for the buildings which was coral rock, and the way they were spaciously spread out across the site. The site itself is gorgeous with lots of trees and flowers and the subtle sound of the ocean in the near distance and the sweet chirping of birds.

img_8767

I have to say I was slightly disappointed with the museum on site as I felt it could have given a little more information about the artefacts on display to try and paint a bigger picture and I was also shocked with how few people I spoke to in Kenya actually knew these ruins even existed. I am trying to change that though with this blog post as visiting the ruins has an extra benefit and incentive to it!

6241684080_img_66836174602016_img_6686

An amazing restaurant at the end of the trail which is a real hidden gem. If you love seafood it is like finding a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow!

6241684080_img_6682

The Monsoon restaurant is a gorgeous beach front restaurant with the most incredible fresh seafood I have tried in Mombasa. It is worth the trip to Mtwapa and not only do you get to see Jumba Ruins, you get to eat a fabulous meal with a view too!

To start with we shared salt and pepper prawns, which was on the specials menu. I then chose the Lobster Garlic Butter and Pili Pili for my mains, which was amazing, and my lunch partner went for the Old Town Fish Fillet.

The presentation of the food, the service and the flavours were all top notch and we thoroughly enjoyed the meal.

6174602016_img_66906174602016_img_66966174602016_img_6707

6174602016_img_6703

To refresh ourselves I went for a Mojito (obviously) and my partner had a beer. The mojito was spot on and delicious and the perfect accompaniment to a superb meal.

6241684080_img_6685

6174602016_img_6688

The hospitality of the chef Aziza and her husband was amazing and I can’t wait to go back the next time I am in Mombasa.

So if you are looking for an alternative day out in Mombasa I recommend a late morning day trip to Jumba Ruins combined with lunch at Monsoon restaurant! You will want to spend the rest of the afternoon relaxing in the gorgeous venue with a bottle of wine or dessert and with the sea breeze cooling you from the intense Mombasa heat – trust me!

For more information about Monsoon restaurant click here.

 

 

 

 

 

Urban Eatery Dessert Menu Re-Launch Party

They say the best things in life are sweet. They also say we are what we eat…so what better way to be than sweet? That is my excuse for constantly indulging in desserts. Life is too short and besides cake doesn’t go to your stomach. It goes to your heart 😉

6243764032_img_6345-1

During my trip to Nairobi, I was lucky enough to be invited to a dessert party at Urban Eatery in honour of the re-launch of their dessert menu. Yes a dessert party! Heaven right there. With Moët & Chandon bubbles flowing and a beautifully set table with the most eye catching variety of desserts on gorgeous plates for each blogger and media personality present, it was truly an afternoon very well spent.

I finally got to meet some dear friends in the blogging world that I had met online but never in person so it was such a treat to finally put faces to names. I have so much love for the blogging community and it was so refreshing to learn more about the Kenyan blogging scene at the same time.

img_8580img_8224img_8581

Urban Eatery has the coolest dining concept I have come across in Nairobi. With its contemporary modern decor, and trendy dining choices, it is a welcome change to the Nairobi food scene. There are four different kitchens, a bar and a frozen yoghurt counter.

It has an all day dining concept where you can start off with a stack of pancakes, or an omelette for breakfast in the early hours and go for dinner and dessert at dusk. The food is international and so if you are in a group and all craving different things it just works perfectly. There is something to suit everyone. Even a healthy menu!

The carefully orchestrated dessert menu at Urban Eatery is also nothing short of amazing and the perfect selection to satisfy any sweet tooth cravings or as the perfect after dinner treat. You can choose to have 3 courses of desserts if you want t0o! No one is judging 😛 I totally would. The choice is so amazing it is hard to narrow it down to one thing so just choose everything to share to be on the safe side. Win win! You also get to try so many different things as a result.

6243764032_img_6330

Starting with frozen yoghurts we knew we had a lot of desserts to try that afternoon but we were well up for the challenge.

The menu has such a wide variety of desserts which range from classics such as carrot cake, chocolate chip cookies, muffins, affogato, banana split, strawberry soft cheesecake, Macarons and New York Cheesecake, Tricolad, Black Forest, just to name a few,  to Indian desserts, such as Dark stuffed Gulab Jamun and Marble Rasmalai, Fireplace desserts, such as Churros and Mexican Fried Ice Cream, just to tease you, and Yog Frozen Yoghurt.

6243764032_img_6349-1

I mean what an incredible choice and selection of desserts! It is absolutely perfect to go with your friends or family to catch up or for a special occasion or even impress someone on a date. Dessert always impresses. Lets be honest. No great love story started with a salad.

6243764032_img_6342

The favourite dessert was a mass consensus and it was the Marble Rasmalai. It was so light, dreamy and not overly sweet. The perfect pick me up and definitely one to bring a smile to your face. Definitely a must order in my opinion.

You can choose to go have dessert on its own if you desire or combine savoury dishes to start with from Urban Eatery’s amazing menus and then finish off with a scrumptious dessert.

6243764032_img_6341

I had an incredible time trying all the desserts and getting to know new friends and familiar ones in the media world. I will definitely be back at Urban Eatery to try the rest of the menu as I really love the concept. If you are looking for an awesome venue and for amazing desserts to try I definitely recommend heading to Urban Eatery.

Thank you so much Urban Eatery and Canvas Media for hosting me at the dessert party. I had an incredible time.

Urban Eatery can be found at Ground Floor, PwC Towers, Delta Corner Estate, Westlands
Nairobi, Kenya.