So, as you probably know by now, there is a new Brew Bistro at Galleria Mall on Lang’ata Road. I've been hearing a lot of mixed reviews about this place – I know two groups of people who went there for their famed (at the other locations) brunch, and were severely disappointed. But I know an entire other group who loved it.
The mixed reviews are not new to me – like I said before, opening up a new branch is always difficult, for consistency, and particularly for returning customers. People who are fans of Brew Bistro on Ngong Road who live in Lang’ata are more than likely to check out the possibility of a new haunt closer to home.
Anyway, in order to write this from a more authoritative point of view, I went to check out Brew Tap Room, as they call it, one fine afternoon. It's located where Sirville Brewery & Lounge used to be, and I am glad of the replacement – outside of Artcaffe, there was really nowhere else to have a drink in that complex that felt like a bona fide bar.
Tap Room wasn't too busy, as it was midweek, and yet by Happy Hour, it was more or less full, save for the tables upstairs next to the DJ.
When my friend Fiona and I walked in, there were no tables available save for the high ones with bar stools. Competition for the lower tables was fierce, and we had to tell our lovely waitress to keep an eye out for us, as we wanted to sit down lower to the ground eventually (ps. It took about an hour for us to get a lower table. That's how popular this place is – or was, at the time of writing).
So first of all, I love the décor and the theme they're choosing to go with. Brew Bistro and Lounge tends to be very beer oriented, and they've stuck to that in their new branch, what with the bar stools and furniture made of beer kegs, beer-inspired meals and a general pub-like feel, which I love.
The menu is quite extensive as well – almost too extensive, but this isn't a complaint, I am just indecisive and prefer smaller menus – ranging from the Breakfast/Brunch section, to Bar Bites, Tapas/Appetizers, Salads, Fries, and Gourmet Sandwiches, just to name a few.
For a sandwich and a drink during Happy Hour, which brought me two, I spent about Sh1,300, which I think is an average/fair price for eating in Nairobi if it isn't in town. The service was good, in my opinion, even when it was full, which is something the Brew on Ngong Road struggles with. It also has TV screens, that gives it a sports bar/pub feel, and a sleek yet rugged silver and wood colour scheme.
And now for the food – I had a Philly Cheese Steak sandwich, which I ordered because I thought I wasn't especially hungry, and that turned out to be a mistake because the sandwich was huge. I mean, it was a full meal plus fries.
We had to sit there for longer than said Happy Hour so I could finish it! It was a good sandwich, but next time I will try something different.
It felt like there was a little seasoning missing, or some wow factor, which meant I came away from it not super impressed – I don't know if they were counting on the cheese to overwhelm the taste buds, but I thought in terms of its flavour profile, it just felt belaboured, as American inspired food seems to feel – do you know what I mean?
Like everything has to have a lot of cheese and be supersized as well but is sometimes a hit and miss with flavour? It was big, which meant you get your bang for your buck, but I wanted quality over quantity.
Overall, I think I will definitely be going back to Tap Room, because I'm curious to try the rest of their menu when there are fewer people and there is less pressure to buy a drink.
And the DJ that night was absolutely wonderful as well, so I'm going back for him too...
Wondering where to get the 411 on what's happening in 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.