THE DISH: My newly found love for tea - Daily Nation

THE DISH: My newly found love for tea

Tuesday January 1 2019

Hazelnut tea at Views Coffee House, Nairobi.

Hazelnut tea and Nutella tea at Views Coffee House, Nairobi. PHOTO| MARION MAINA 

By MARION MAINA
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Nothing beats an eatery with great ambience and delicious food that is pocket friendly.

Now imagine such a joint being right in the middle of Nairobi's CBD. Yes, you heard that right, at the very heart of the city-- convenience, intimate comfort and tasty meals all wrapped into one.

That was my experience when a friend dragged me to Views Coffee house.

Inside the coffee house is spacious with great ambience

Inside the coffee house is spacious with great ambience. PHOTO| MARION MAINA

Located on the 13th floor of Bihi towers along Moi avenue, the café is a wonderful getaway from the hustle and bustle of city life downstairs. You could sneak up there, grab a bite and be back at your desk in no time.

As we settled in the wicker seats, my eyes combed through the room before resting on the large windows that gave a breath-taking view of city buildings. Most of the seats were set for two which gave it a comfortable and intimate feel. I slid out of my seat and motioned my friend to join me on the seats next to the windows. How could we come to Views and not watch the view?

A view of the city.

A view of the city. PHOTO| MARION MAINA

A pleasant waitress brought us the menu promptly and said she would be back to get our orders. I always appreciate it when waiters do that you know--when they give you time to debate on what you wish to eat without their towering presence pressuring you to place the order.

The warmly-lit counter area.

The warmly-lit counter area. PHOTO| MARION MAINA

I can be quite indecisive especially when eating at a new joint because I always want it to leave me with the perfect first impression. It probably has to do with being raised by a food caterer. I am my mother's longest serving employee as her official food taster.

My friend gave me a few seconds before she suggested we try the special teas; hazelnut tea and Nutella tea. "You are still off sugar right? Hazelnut tea is perfect," she added. She also suggested we order some chicken pies to go with the tea.

First of all, I have never been a fan of tea. In fact, more often than not I end up having milkshakes on coffee dates.

In all honesty, I was not excited when my friend suggested we take tea so my anticipation was towards the pie and indulging in the view from the window. But she had been here before and I decided to trust her taste.

PLEASANT SURPRISE

A few minutes later the teas came frothing in lovely tall glass cups. I want to think it's the cup...or maybe it's the streaks of the hazelnut in the tea but my reservations for the tea flew out of the window the moment the teas were set on the table.

My friend smiled discreetly and I knew that my eyes were dancing in their usual excitable manner at the sight of deliciousness. This was not what I expected when she said tea and I was pleasantly surprised.

As I eagerly brought the warm cup to my lips and took a sip the aroma of the tea filled my nostrils. A burst of warm rich flavour filled my mouth and I turned to my friend in awe, "What tea have I been taking, Mo?"

She was smacking her lips and I could tell that her cup was delicious too. As I took another sip and felt the rich creaminess of the beverage warm my insides, I knew that instant that my relationship with tea had been restored.

Before I could savour my third sip, the waitress was back with two side plates of chicken pies. They were perfectly baked with a golden hue that glistened under the restaurant's warm lighting.

The perfectly baked chicken pie.

The perfectly baked chicken pie. PHOTO| MARION MAINA

I set the cup down, picked the cutlery and cut a piece of the pie. I observed that the crust was thin, a sure sign of great pie.

I chewed that first bite slowly as I explored the rich taste of chicken cooked in spring onions and coriander with a dash a pepper. I didn't pick any overpowering spices in the chicken filling and the crust was light and crispy dissolving pretty quickly in the mouth. I am always hesitant to order meat pies because they often have heavy dough that gives them a bland taste.

I deliberately turned over my pie and was pleased to find it golden brown evenly on both sides.

This pie was baked lovingly, without being rushed in the oven. I enjoyed every bit of it and complimented the chef with a clean plate. Not even a crumble was left behind.

The pastry display at the counter.

The pastry display at the counter. PHOTO| MARION MAINA

My friend had a lot of good things to say about the other meals on the menu and I made a mental note to revisit the eatery and try their main dishes.

The pies had made a great first impression; they were so filling I think they stuffed a plateful of minced chicken given the thinned of the crust.

As for the tea, it's one of those things you just need to taste for yourself. It's the kind of tea you would wish to have after a heartbreak on a cold grey afternoon.

Creamy, warm, thick...why, it felt like a cuddly hug!

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Wondering where to get the 411 on what's happening in and around Nairobi's foodie scene? There's a lot of places you could go, but here's where we want you to be – getting the dish on the dish. Get it? We knew you would.

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