I had a Scandinavian friend visit me for a couple of days this past week.
Given that she was eager to explore the Maasai market, go up KICC and try some Kenyan food in the CBD, I decided that we would start off with lunch at K’Osewe.
She tried the whole fried tilapia with osuga, kachumbari and ugali, and it was so good that she started praising it in her native tongue.
After a night out at The Alchemist, the burgers at Mama Rocks were so good that I started singing in my native tongue (although since pretty much everything tastes fantastic after a couple of drinks and that’s the only circumstance under which I’ve tried these burgers, you shouldn’t take my word for it).
After yet another pleasant dining experience, this time hunched over our computers with good WiFi and even better smoothies and muesli at Artcaffe Westgate, my status as the all-knowing-foodie-about-town was cemented. When it came to picking a good spot for Sunday brunch, I went with one of my favourite options, K1 Klub House. In retrospect, the experience probably fell short because I raved about it so much beforehand that it was hard to hit the unrealistic threshold set.
She started off with pancakes which, according to the menu, were supposed to come with fruits.
What was presented, however, were two pancakes with two small slices of strawberries, two slices of lemon and a side of maple syrup. Disappointed with the false advertising, I tried to salvage the situation by suggesting that we try the burgers which are always my go-to order.
My friend ordered the veggie burger. The space was starting to fill up and while the service was quick, a different waiter came to our table with the wrong order and insisted that that’s what we had asked for. This was going downhill fast. When our initial waiter eventually brought the right dishes, the veggie burger was really dry and the patty, which I think was made of sweet potatoes and beans, didn’t have enough hold and kept falling apart. Given that all attention was now on the food, I noticed that this time there wasn’t really anything exceptional about my usual cheese burger either.
K1 is the Sunday hangout spot of Nairobi’s hip and trendy millennials. This crowd is probably on Instagram, likes Michael Soi’s art, might start a Facebook petition against some social injustice or go on a Twitter rant about Donald Trump’s latest insensitive comments on Africa. The DJ will probably be playing songs you might associate with the term ‘urban with a touch of reggae’ and some obscure stuff you’ve probably never heard before. Everyone is wired to want to connect and the ambiance is rustic and vibrant complete with upside down umbrellas which create a ceiling. Even if I think that some items at the flea market are always overpriced for this crowd, I love everything about this spot. But I did realise that perhaps all this serves to distract from the fact that the food isn’t always consistently great.
Overall, I would liken the experience to setting up two friends that you think would get along to go on a date, and one just falls short of expectation, but you still know they are an amazing person. Mostly because they are your friend.