yummy FOOD. DRINK. LIFE.
KUKU CRAZY WANURI KAHIU
Glows in the aftermath of her time at Cannes
Susan Wong on a memorable dining experience
Double Dragon have been holding out on us
Vol. 4.6 June 2018
EDITOR’S YUMMY NOTE
IN VINO PLAYING VERITAS CHICKEN
You don’t have to be a wine expert to enjoy a good glass of wine, argues Katy Fentress, Katy Fentress, it turns out, is not as courageous as shethis would like towine believe. who is happy to have passed thequite responsibility of curating month’s section to someone unarguably more qualified than her.
have stopped trying to count the chickens in my yard and have no idea where they lay their eggs. Sometimes I see new little chicks hopping behind one of the hens. Last Sunday there were two new additions to the team: a yellow one and a black one. I tried to film the cute little creatures and, much to my terrified surprise, ended up being attacked by their enraged mother. I have never felt like such a chicken in my entire life. As I run away, the video still recording, my shrieks of terror echo across the lawn. My friend in the background can be heard splitting her sides with laughter. On Monday, only the black chick was left. There has been much speculation as to what happened but I am convinced it was the mother as she is obviously a bit of a psycho. According to my visiting friend it might be mad chicken disease which, she insists, they picked up from eating the dog’s chicken-flavoured kibble. I don’t actually think that’s a thing. Google is giving me conflicting answers. Maybe it was a hawk and the mother is innocent. Maybe it was one of the dogs getting revenge for the chickens always eating their food. Can
dogs get mad chicken disease? Nothing beats the flavour of a boiled Kienyeji chicken soup. Maybe the psycho hen’s time is finally up. Chickens that spend their time darting around the yard harassing the dogs end up with this wonderful almost overpowering gamey taste. They make for terrible fried chicken though. Chickens that are good for frying are lazy chickens who don’t move around and have never laid eyes on the blue sky. I have long got over my moral qualms with this. Anyway, this is not the time and the place for an analysis of battery poultry farms. Speaking of fried chicken, that’s what inspired this issue in the first place. The global food entrepreneur and celebrity David Chang, who I’m sure you’ve heard me mention in the past, used to do reviews of things like fried chicken in his now defunct publication Lucky Peach. I really admire how he took the concept of the restaurant review and applied it to fast food. I decided to copy him and one day in May, Pete the photographer and I set out with the intention of reviewing eight different fried chicken joints across Nairobi.
Unfortunately, or fortunately, if you ask our livers, by the time we had gotten six fried chicken joints photographed and reviewed, there was no way we could eat one other piece for the foreseeable future. Want to know which the best one was? Well then go to page 28 to find out! Ducks aren’t psychos, they’re more like hecklers. They drown out each other’s opinions with their loud and incessant quacking and have absolutely no respect for one another. I had hoped to visit a duck farm last month but alas the rains made in inaccessible. I made up for it though, by discovering that the unassuming Double Dragon restaurant at the Junction Mall food court has a second menu from which people in the know can order Peking Duck [P30]. Elsewhere in the magazine, Winnie Wangui discovers that smoked chicken is a thing and that the Chef at the Intercontinental Hotel has been perfecting his own recipe for it [P34]; I chat with the owner of Fonda NBO to find out more about a dish that looks deceptively like Nachos [P36]; and Susan Wong is wowed by a chef she once read about in the Toronto Star
who’s restaurant, 45 Degrees, is an unlikely fine dining hub in Nairobi’s Garden City suburb [P24]. We hit the stands with seconds to go before the World Cup kickoff and you’ll be happy to know that we have compiled for you an extensive neighbourhood list of where you can go and catch a game [p16]. Oh and Jackson Biko, who never makes it into my editor’s notes because I know people just flip the back of the book and read him anyway, has written a beautiful obituary on the passing of the boundary-pushing chef and writer Anthony Bourdain [P43]. Thanks Biko, I forgive you for missing your deadline this month. Whatever that may mean. Follow Katy on IG: @lakitchenwitch
Katy Fentress Katy Fentress Editor In Chief Editor In Chief
CONTENTS FINGER ON THE PULSE Scene: Cool as a Cucumber 07 Social 08 New Restaurants 10 News and Events 15 Kahawa Allstars: Wanuri Kahiu 16 EatOut Picks: Bites and Screens 21 Anyiko's List: What's Hot 22 Foodies We Love: Lucy Weru
KENYA FRIED We crisscrossed the city on a mission to discover who actually serves up the best fried bird in town. The results might surprise you
TRIED AND TESTED 22 Susan Eats: 45 Degrees 41 Wine Corner: Winter Chalices 43 Man About Town: The Meaning 48 In a Pickle: Century Egg FOWL TIMES Spotlight: Smoke and Cabinets 34 Dish: Real Nacho 36 38 Q&A: Steers
30 PEKING DUCK Double Dragon restaurant at Junction Mall food court has a second menu which they've been keeping a secret from us.
YUMMY Vol. 4.6 · June 2018 · PUBLISHED BY EATOUT, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED MANAGING DIRECTOR Mikul Shah GM Michelle Slater EDITOR IN CHIEF: Katy Fentress STAFF WRITER Winnie Wangui CONTRIBUTORS: Jackson Biko, Josiah Kahiu, Marah Koberle, Anyiko Owoko, Susan Wong DESIGN John Njoroge, Brian Siambi DIGITAL TEAM: Fred Miwthiga, Sylvia Onsoti DISTRIBUTION Leroy Buliro SALES, MARKETING & OPERATIONS Susan Gathara, Gilbert Chege, Daniel Muthiani, Jane Naitore, Angela Omondi, Joy Wairimu, Vanessa Wanjiku PHOTOGRAPHY Peter Ndung’u, Karan Khalsa, Brian Siambi IT Douglas Akula, Erick Kiiya, Asim Mughal SALES INQUIRIES 0711 22 22 22 EMAIL firstname.lastname@example.org PRINTED BY English Press
MEET THE CHEFS
HAROLD SENA-KOTA - 45 DEGREES Born in Ghana, Harold worked as a sous chef in Rome at the Piatto dâ€™Oro, as the Executive Chef at the Sheraton Grand Mirage Resort in Australia and was the executive chef at Pronto and North 44 in Toronto. He has a constant and unwavering desire to cook and that leads him to eat in everything from holes in the wall to fine dining establishments.
ROBERT MUSYOKA DOUBLE DRAGON Chef Robert has basically been at Double Dragon restaurant since they first started serving food in 1997. At the time the restaurant was the 3rd Chinese restaurant to open its doors to Nairobians. Make sure you ask Chef Robert him to show you the second menu so you find out what the Chinese patrons actually eat.
SIMON WANJAU INTERCONTINENTAL NAIROBI Executive Chef Simon Wanjau has been at InterContinental Nairobi for the last six years. His passion is fueled by his love for the craftsmanship and the artistry of cooking as well as his determination to enlighten the young minds, who are going to be the future chefs of our nation and of the world.
TIMOTHY MAKANA-FONDA NBO As a child Timothy Makana Angwenyi used to visit his dad, a manager at the Hilton Hotel, and became enamoured by the chefs in their white uniforms as they busied themselves around the kitchens. As a chef his passion for food trends, experimenting and discovering with spices and herbs are most probably what landed him his coveted job at Fonda NBO.
LUCKY WINNER Congratulations to 21 year old Dorcas Nganga, a student at UON Parklands Campus who was thrilled to be our randomly selected winner for a dinner voucher for two. She will share her fine dining experience with her sister as a belated birthday gift.
Win two tickets to the first ever Dawa Festival In order to participate answer the following question: How do you claim a discount on the EatOut App?
Email your answer to email@example.com by July 2nd (the winner will be selected at random from the list of correct questions)
COOL AS A CUCUMBER We went, we exchanged, we drank and then did it all again every day for the following week. For the first ever Nairobi World Cucumber Exchange, select bars across the city accepted for one hour every day a cucumber as currency for one very delicious Hendricks Gin and Tonic.
ITALIAN ESCAPE From Tuscany With Love Surrounded by cypress trees, Cipressi is located at Rhino House, next to the Mirage in Westlands. Their casual ambiance and extensive menu will take you on a culinary trip to Tuscany. 2-star Executive Chef Silvio Morelli, has crafted delightful dishes such as Mezze Maniche alla Luciano Pavarotti, which you must try. eatout.co.ke/cipressi
A NEW TRIBE The New Kenyan Indian Flare Located at Spring Valley Business park, Lower Kabete Road, Tribe 44 is a Ken-Indian Cafe & Bistro that offers a fusion of Kenyan, Swahili and Indian Cuisines. Their menu brings a modern twist to the traditional fare, comprising a selection of dishes that range from, but are not limited to, Sweet Potato Fries and Coconut Pancakes. eatout.co.ke/tribe-44
FRENCHLY BAKED! Le Grenier à Pain’s New Spot French bakery Le Grenier à Pain has opened its doors at the Village Supermarket in Village Market. Get your French pastries, breads and desserts freshly made, everyday. Whether you need a loaf of bread, a pain au chocolat, or a freshly baked croissant, be sure to make your order or drop by to get your pastry fix. eatout.co.ke/le-grenier-a-pain
NEWS AND EVENTS
RUN IN THE WILD The 18th Safaricom LEWA Marathon Watch marathoners as they charge through Lewa’s rippling tough course at the 18th edition of the Lewa Marathon on Saturday, 30th June from 8am to 6pm. The exhilaration as they run alongside (but still at a safe distance) from rhinos, elephants and other wildlife, is an unforgettable experience. Ticket are Ksh. 1000 for adults and Ksh. 500 for kids. www.safaricommarathon.com
PIZZA FOR DADDY Learn To Make Pizza With Your Dad Ditch the common shirt or tie that you always gift your dad on Father’s Day and instead make lovely memories indulging in delicious pizzas. This June 17th from 12pm, spend quality time with good old dad at Villa Rosa Kempinski’s pizza class by their talented Italian Master Chef Andrea. Charges are Ksh. 2500 for a child and dad, and Ksh. 1500 for an additional child. eatout.co.ke/cafe-villa-rosa-at-kempinski-hotel
RIBS UNLIMITED Goat, Lamb and Pork Ribs Galore Head over to Nyama Mama Delta every Tuesday from 12pm to 6 pm and indulge in succulent, tender ribs. For Ksh. 1800 per person, you can dig into as many goat and lamb ribs your stomach can handle while for Ksh. 2500 per person you get to enjoy all-you-can-eat pork ribs. eatout.co.ke/nyama-mama
FOUR DECADES & COUNTING
obody can argue the fact that The Dawa is Kenya’s favourite cocktail. Every bartender across our nation knows about it and most restaurants or bars feature it on their menus. You might even find a Dawa or two at a barbecue overseas, usually transported across the oceans by a proud Kenyan or even a tourist who picked up the recipe as they travelled through. However, there is only one home of The Dawa. THE CARNIVORE. In the late 1970’s the concept of the Dawa was born. A take on the Brazilian Caipirinha, the cocktail was featured on previous Carnivore menus as the Caiprioska, the South American country’s vodka- based equivalent. While introducing the cocktail onto the market, a group of regular Carnivore patrons were invited to sample this delicious but tonguetwisting drink. One fan struggled to remember it's complicated name, opting for: “Please bring me my Dawa." And so The Dawa was born. As the Dawa approaches 40 years, this tasty beverage shows no signs of slowing down. After all, they do say ‘life begins at 40!’ In honour of four Decades of Dawa, Carnivore is launching a music festival to celebrate this great cocktail. The “Dawa Music Festival’ will take
place in Carnivore on 29th June and will be an Afro House & EDM style combination featuring international DJs from Israel & Hong Kong and top local artists. The opening DJ will be DJ Maayan Bergman a hip hop and afrobeat master and also a leading scratch artist in Israel. The main act will feature the bombshell international DJ Gloria Ansell fresh from touring one of the top Female DJs in the world perform in Kenya from her recent European tour. Beside the main stage there will be a second stage playing Rap and Hip Hop featuring Kenyan DJs Lerb and COCO EM. What’s more, every guest in the festival will get 2 complimentary glasses of the Dawa cocktail. In the four decades that this wonderful Kenyan drink has been around, the Tamarind group estimates to have sold over 3 million of them. Many of these have been personally concocted by our own superstar Dr. Dawa, the smiling face of Dawa here at Carnivore! There is only one way to make a good Dawa, The Carnivore way: Ingredients: Lowball glass Quartered lime wedges - ...... Did you really think we were going to give you the recipe?
PHOTOS COURTESY OF WANURI KAHIU
WANURI KAHIU Just back from her historic trip to the Cannes International Film Festival, where her feature film Rafiki was received to great acclaim - despite having been banned back home here in Kenya - Wanuri Kahiu sits down with Kahawa Allstars to give us the two minute low-down on what it felt like to be the first Kenyan director to be screened at this most influential of international film festivals. What beats faster: your heart after three cups of Kenyan coffee, or your heart when you are getting a standing ovation at Cannes? LOL….. getting a standing ovation at Cannes! You can only eat one type of breakfast for the rest of your life: French or Kenyan? Mombasa Coastal Breakfast any day…. it’s the bomb! Baguette or chapati? Chapati all day every day Best dish of the Festival week? When I got home and got to eat something home cooked
How proud did you feel seeing the stars of your film so well received? Sam and Sheila [Samantha Mugatsia and Sheila Munyiva are the stars of the movie] were amazing, they were getting stopped on the street by people because they were loved so much. It was absolutely incredible to see them shine.
I was completely 100% starstruck by Ava DuVernay [Cannes Judge and Director of “A Wrinkle in Time”]
Number of different outfits you packed for the festival? I had an amazing stylist called Lucy Robi who helped me with all of my clothing needs. Let’s just say, I had enough!
The most “Wakanda” moment Standing in front of the audience introducing the film and seeing that Ryan Coogler was there and was giving us a Wakanda sign
The person who made you feel the most starstruck
Cate Blanchett I was in awe that she was in the audience watching Rafiki with us. That was amazing, I can’t even describe the feeling
The secret to surviving an International Film Festival Friends, friends friends. They make
you happy, they help you shine, they make you show up. Amazing. Any Shoutouts? All the Kenyan designers: Embody Accessories and Kipato Unbranded; Deepa Dosaja was just amazing and we wore some stuff by Designing Africa that was the most beautiful. I’m so grateful for Kenyan creative talents. What’s the takeaway? Be open, willing and available for everything that you work hard for. The idea that it takes ten years to be an overnight success is true. You need to work and then you need to be ready.
EATOUT PICKS YUMMY
FOOTBALL FEVER Whether it is a rugby match or the much anticipated World Cup 2018, Nairobi has plenty of places to watch the latest game while enjoying a bite or a drink. Large screens strategically placed, delicious bitings, a wide selection of drinks and a fun crowd are all you need to enjoy the most watched football competition of all time. Here’s a list of some popular bars you can watch sports and get your fill, all at the same time.
1. WESTLANDS GIPSY BAR With three bars and one restaurant, Gipsy is great if you’re up for a night out partying with friends after watching the matches of the day. With numerous large screens dotted across the establishment you can enjoy the match from any seat. Also, their delicious chicken wings will come in handy when the hunger pangs strike. eatout.co.ke/gipsy-bar THE NODE Nestled along Woodvale Close, Westlands, opposite the Jacaranda Hotel, you’ll find The Node, a delightful restaurant with an extensive international menu. Their dedicated sports bar, The Sap, is where you can cheer on your team while enjoying their extensive selection or drinks and bar bitings. eatout.co.ke/node THE TAV IRISH PUB AND BISTRO Rustic but modern with an Irish flair, best describes The Tav. Its location at The Mirage building off Waiyaki Way features a terrace area, with multiple screens for viewing the action. Its upstairs lounge opens up to a cavernous loft space where you can munch on their Teriyaki Chicken Wings as you catch up on the game. eatout.co.ke/tav
2. PARKLANDS K1 KLUB HOUSE Get right in the action and watch all the biggest football games at K1’s stadium-like round marquee as you knock back the pints and indulge in their legendary samosas, wings, or choma sausages. This spot is a favourite of many who live within Westlands. Be sure to get there early if you’re looking to catch a game. eatout.co.ke/k1-klub-house BAO BOX Popular for the over 100 board games available, Bao Box’s rooftop, location on the 8th floor of Pramukh towers, provides a spacious and airy ambiance. When there are big games on, they always set up a large projector screen on the terrace area so football fans can enjoy their menu which includes pizzas, fries, wings and more. eatout.co.ke/bao-box SOHO’S BAR AND CLUB Located on Parklands rd, this classic Westlands level drinking spot and sports bar is popular for the fantastic music that always has revellers on their feet all night. Choose from the VIP, outdoor or indoor area, they are all conveniently situated screens in such a way to allow you to watch your games from any vantage point. facebook.com/SohosKenya
3. LAVINGTON AMBO GARDENS Located off Amboseli road in Lavington, Ambo Garden’s casual setup features high wooden chairs and tables casually dispersed in the floor space. Loved for their nyama choma (roasted meat) and mutura (African sausage), they have large screens strategically placed to allow football fans to watch their games. eatout.co.ke/ambo-gardens
4. KILIMANI/ KILELESHWA VIVA LOUNGE Located along Kandara rd, Viva Lounge is the perfect spot for hanging out with a large group of friends over some tasty cuts of nyama choma. Sit outside to get away from the throng or head inside and get in on the sports action. Their bar stocks up a wide range of drinks to keep you sipping as you watch the latest match on their screens. eatout. co.ke/viva-lounge-sportsbar-restaurant YEJOKA GARDEN If you are bored of the sports bar options and looking for a more chilled out location to watch the game from, then Yejoka Garden, a leafy Ethiopian restaurant just minutes away from Yaya Centre might just be the place for you. Its cosy garden allows you to watch the game while filling yourself up on all the Ethiopian classic dishes. eatout.co.ke/yejoka-gardenrestaurant
5. KAREN PURDY ARMS Purdy Arms, located on Marula Lane, offers warm and homely service inspiring you to linger long after the game is over. Wherever you turn or sit, a widescreen TV is within plain sight. On big game days, they project the match onto one of their walls and their sweet and spicy wings, feta samosas and fishcakes are just delicious. eatout.co.ke/purdy-arms QUE PASA BAR & BISTRO This fun, loud and busy neighbourhood bar offers a large selection of cocktails, whiskies and beers in a warm, cosy and inviting space. Perfect for a night out bonding with the guys and gals, you can share their pizzas, chicken wings or, if you are a seafood lover, indulge in some mussels as you watch a game. eatout.co.ke/que-pasa-bar-bistro
6. THIKA AND KIAMBU RD
Find out more by downloading the EatOut App in order to enjoy amazing discounts at these and more restaurants around the city
KENGELES LAVINGTON Kengele’s in Lavington Green mall is an extremely popular and lively pub with a good balance between outdoor and indoor space. The sound system is powerful and there are generous screens for viewing sports. Their chicken is pretty good and they have good prices on beers, wines and spirits. eatout.co.ke/kengeles-lavingtongreen
JIKONI’S SPORTS BAR & GRILL Located in Ridgeways, Kiambu rd, Jikoni’s offers a retro cocktail menu and delectable bar bites including fish fingers and chicken tenders. The eclectic ambiance is attributed by the talented host DJs playing every night. Should you find yourself along Kiambu rd during the world cup, pop in and catch a game. jikonis.co.ke
NATIVES SPORTS BAR & GRILL Natives Sports Bar and Grill along Thika Rd is a bar dedicated to showing live sport and lots of it. It features lots of strategically placed big TV screens showing everything from national to international football tournaments and a bar menu that includes mshikakis, choma sausages and samosas. Go there to watch sport, because that’s what it’s for. eatout.co.ke/natives-sports-bar-grill MOCA LOCA COFFEE & LOUNGE Watching a game as you sip on your ice cold drink and have flawless service is the perfect representation of a great night. Moca Loca’s beautiful space and ambiance coupled with their fantastic pizzas and big screens provide the perfect setting for that must-watch game. eatout.co.ke/moca-loca
7. LANGATA RD CARNIVORE This venue serves a wide variety of meat carved live at your table. Enjoy char grilled succulent meat cuts, and wash it down with cocktails, beers, whiskies or wine. The alfresco dining set up provides clear views of the numerous TV screens which always show big matches. eatout.co.ke/carnivore BREW TAP ROOM GALLERIA The quintessential Brew Bistro experience reaches new heights of luxury with an expansive lounge and an exquisite outdoor terrace, where guests can feast on delectable bites such as chicken wings, chicken nachos, or pretzels and sip specially crafted premium brews and cocktails. eatout.co.ke/brew-bistro-tap-room CHARLIE’S BISTRO Charlie’s Bistro at the South End mall, Langata have a fully stocked bar and provide unforgettable cocktails. Their extensive menu has a wide selection of international foods featuring Lebanese specialities and finger foods, wings, nachos and some tasty vegetarian options. eatout.co.ke/charlies-bistro
DAR STAR This month, Publicist to the stars Anyiko Owoko sets off to Tanzania on a media tour with SHiiKANE (Nigeria). While in Dar es Salaam, she samples a mixture of local food, attends a Listening Party hosted by Tanzania’s latest boy band then chats with Nahreel on producing a World Cup Anthem, before returning to a beloved Kenyan spot serving up Nairobi’s best Sushi.
TASTIEST FOOD When in Dar es Salaam, you must sample their favourite local delicacies: Chips Mayai (a mixture of Chips and Fried Eggs in Chapati form) and Vuruga (Either a mixture of Plantain in Goat Meat or Chips in Beef stew). The best place to have this is at Triple Seven, an open restaurant located in Mikocheni. It’s a great location to hide, if you’re around Mikocheni and Mbezi areas. I also sampled “Supu”—Beef Soup, with huge chunks of Beef and served with Chapati. It’s a common power breakfast for most locals, and a popular go-to hangover cure. COOLEST EVENT I attended a Listening Party organized by Born to Shine A&R, where I discovered a new Tanzanian music group: The Mafik, unveiled early 2018. Comprising male singers: Hamadai, Rhino King and Mbalamwezi, The Mafik have come to fill up the void left when Yamoto Band dissolved. From Bongo Flava’s point of view, the group is already seen as a fit to self-groom themselves into a multi-talented and versatile crossover music act akin to Sauti Sol’s brand. Their latest collaboration “Niwaze” with Tanzanian songstress Ruby is a certified banger. Listen to it on YouTube and remember reading this text when they become Tanzania’s next biggest boy band. MOST MEMORABLE QUOTE It’s World Cup season! The only time every four years when we must all watch football. I am not into football so I always wait to listen to anthems. I love the fact that Coca Cola’s anthem for the 2018 FIFA World Cup was produced by an East African, Nahreel who also is a member of pop duo: Navy Kenzo. I met up with the producer in Dar es Salaam. He said, “This is indeed my biggest project, after Coke Studio Africa. Producing “Colours” by Jason Derulo and Diamond Platnumz is massive for my career and to be part of World Cup 2018 is such an honour and something I truly appreciate,” adding, “I feel as if my achievement is more than remarkable and it says something about the musical talent in Tanzania and East Africa. We are leaving a mark.”
MOST TANZANIAN MOMENT There is never-ending banter on the similarities and differences of the culture between East African countries but two things that recently happened make me come to the conclusion that Tanzanians are really special people. One time, my taxi driver’s phone went off and so I had to call another but the dude called me an hour later to deeply apologize. Secondly, while driving in Ubungo estate with my brother once, we bumped into a car parked in the middle of the highway at a junction, during rush hour. We were astounded to find out that the driver had laid back his seat and fell asleep. “Mshikaji amelala!” (Dude is asleep!) is all onlookers kept saying. FAVOURITE ITEM OF THE MONTH I found a wonderful shop in Masasani selling cool Ankara clothing items by contemporary Tanzanian designer: Hilu Bura. Their stuff is simple but fashionable. I really love a Kitenge poncho-like jacket I bought—it is perfect for both professional occasions or fun events, depending on whether it’s paired with a little black dress or a black trouser suit. Their Ayana Jacket and Kitenge Kimonos are also pretty cool. Their Kitenge prices are more affordable than in Nairobi or Lagos. With about $20 you can have yourself good Kitenge, and a ready-to-go outfit, with Tanzanian heritage to back it up. What’s more? The shop ships their fashion worldwide, visit www. hilubura.com to place your order. BEST DISCOVERY Village Market’s new wing is still something to discover while in Nairobi’s Gigiri area but I will have to refer you back to the old side. Prime Cuts Butchery, Deli and Bistro are known to serve some of the most high-quality meats, seafood and deli but not many know of their excellent Sushi, prepared inside the butchery section by their Sushi Chefs. A pack of 16 Sushi Rolls costs Ksh. 980 and trust me, these will be the most well done rolls you’ll ever have in Nairobi. I am not sure why they are so good and different. I think it’s the choice of Rice and accompaniments: Wasabi and Flavoured Ginger or maybe even the type of Soy Sauce. NB: They don’t open on Mondays.
YUMMY WE LOVE FOODIES
TEXT FRED MWITHIGA
LUCY WERU If you’re kuku about kuku, and haven’t thought of trying out chicken feet, Lucy Weru from @afoodiescollective is up for the feet! Get to know what her favourite restaurants are and more!
eet Lucy, a 28 year old food blogger who’s on a mission to eat through Nairobi’s exciting food scene. Like many foodies out there, Lucy lives by the unwritten ‘snap it before you eat it’ rule when it comes to dining out. Her Instagram profile, @afoodiescollective is her testament - packed with hunger provoking images from her various adventures around and out the city. She terms her relationship with food as an unhealthy obsession, but who really cares. After all, don’t we live to eat? A visit to her blog afoodiescollective.com gives more detail on her restaurant endeavours detailing her personal favourites, honest reviews and more to cater for those who seek a peers advice on where to eat next. Her blog celebrates its 1st birthday in September, but for someone so fresh in the blogging
scene, she was nominated in the Best Food blog category at the recently held 2018 BAKE Awards - one of her biggest career highlights thus far. Her courtship with food began when her mother exposed her to different cultures through various cuisines and this broadened her perspective on the dining experience. She would later draw inspiration from English celebrity chef, Rick Stein to share her food experiences. Since this is the kuku issue, we were keen to find out what Lucy’s stance is on the beloved bird. If you irk at the thought of having to ‘hunt’ your chicken and turn it into a meal, find comfort in knowing that Lucy too, would gladly skip the beheading process and jump straight to her bite. She particularly likes to dig into fried breaded chicken or well marinated kuku choma paired with fiery kachumbari and either ugali or
chapati. She hasn’t tried chicken feet yet but her curiosity on why Asians love them so much has piqued her interest. I personally can’t imagine the thought of claws making their way down my throat no matter how delicious they appear. When she’s out to catch up with her friends over a few drinks, her top spots for bar bites (read wings) are Artcaffe, Cedar’s Restaurant and KFC specifically for their sticky wings. As much as she loves chicken, Lucy has a soft spot for desserts. Particularly chocolate. One day, she hopes to have a chocolate-themed dessert bar similar to Max Brenner (feel free to google). She doesn’t have a name for it yet but promises it would be addictive. For now,she leaves us with one of her current recipes - Creamy Mushroom Pasta for you to give it a shot!
Creamy Mushroom Pasta Ingredients • • • • • •
Mushrooms – 1 packet Cooking cream – 1 cup Garlic – 2 cloves Mixed Herbs – 1 teaspoon Pasta One knob of butter
Place the pasta in boiling salted water to cook. Once cooked to al dente (firm to the bite), drain the water. Saute the chopped mushrooms with a little butter until they are lightly browned then add garlic, salt, and thyme. Once the mushrooms are cooked to a dark brown colour, add the cream, and let it simmer for a few minutes. Season the sauce with salt and pepper and pour over the cooked pasta and serve.
PHOTOGRAPHY PETER NDUNG'U
A CUT ABOVE Don’t judge a book by its cover, discovers Susan Wong who, after some initial trepidation looking at the menu in a suburban garden restaurant, is completely swayed by the long parade of amazing food
started to read the newspaper for fun when I was 8-years-old because my parents policed my television and Game Boy time, but mostly because we had a monthly subscription to The Toronto Star. I use to enjoy waking up early on Saturday mornings so that I could greet the blonde paper delivery boy on the lawn. “Hey Susan! Check out where Cynthia went to eat this week!” Brian was referring to Cynthia Wine, a former staff restaurant critic at the publication and author of Eating for a Living: Notes from a Professional Diner – a favourite read of mine that’s been collecting dust on my bookshelf in Toronto. 25 years later, in the fringes of Nairobi at 45 Degrees Kitchen, I found myself staring at a framed old newspaper clipping penned by Cynthia about a restaurant in Toronto’s entertainment district (that’s now gone on to become a Canadian franchise behemoth) and was published on my birthday, Saturday, October 23, 1993 – a restaurant review that I definitely had read over a steaming hot bowl of homemade congee. Who was the featured chef? Harold Sena-Kota, the chef-owner of the celebrated 45 Degrees Kitchen. In Kenya, fine dining is usually reserved for flagship restaurants in fancy hotels or members-only clubs, but 45 Degrees Kitchen is situated deep in Nairobi’s suburbia. Located in the Garden Estate area off of Thika Road, getting to the restaurant is quite effortless if traffic cooperates. I’ll be honest; at first, it didn’t look
promising. Outdoor LED flexible strip lighting draped freely above the spacious outdoor seating and inside the cozy dining room. Mismatched tables and chairs added a quirky sense of style to the space. Tiedye tablecloths challenged your expectations for fine table linens, and art from Kenyan painters hung on the walls for sale. With the bar area set-up on a table to the side, it felt like I was walking into someone’s garden party. I really didn’t know what to expect, and when I was handed a menu that featured more than 50 items, my companions and I naturally became hesitant. The menu featured a four-course tasting flight and à la carte. From fresh scallops to langoustines, duck to pork, crab to Ahi, and truffle to wild mushrooms – all sourced locally, Chef Harold’s choice of premium ingredients meant no expense was going to be spared. The next couple of hours was like a culinary equivalent to a flawless Steph Curry NBA All-Star Three-Point Contest performance – graceful and a showcase of an indecent amount of skill. Take the dish Pan-fried Scallops with Purple Cabbage and Mustard. It looked simple, but that’s how Chef Harold deceives you. Beautifully seasoned and seared, the scallops were moist and subtly sweet. The purple cabbage and mustard was a brilliant shade of lavender. The julienned vegetables had a nice bite that could only be achieved by a quick sauté on high heat. The Salt-Baked Beet Salad with Yoghurt Dressing arrived with a sprinkle of
pomegranate seeds, dried cranberries, and some fresh mozzarella. Every leaf of lettuce was lightly coated with the dressing, refreshing and crisp, this salad was an understated harmony of flavours and colours. Next, the Pan-fried Duck Breast with a Lemongrass Sauce and served with a Thai Green Curry and Jasmine Rice. The dish costs a gulp-inducing KSh 3,250, but then when you begin to start working your way through its beautifully seared and pink flesh, you realize that there’s enough here for two. The Thai Green Curry was vibrant, flavourful and rich – so delicious that I’d order it on its own. The duck was a bit heavy on the black pepper, but the cookery was undeniably faultless. The Mongolian Lamb Chops with Mushroom Risotto escalated the pleasure to another level. The chops, French-trimmed, had a beautiful ratio of fat and tender meat that gave away to the knife like butter. The beautiful chops sat on a bed of risotto that had some long grain wild rice running through it, which added texture to the dense and rich base. Few things are as satisfying as a bowl of well-made risotto. With the right wine, stock, soffritto, fat, and a lot of labour, risotto can almost take you to the moon and back. Did I mention he threw in some Shitakes? Then there was the Two-week Aged Sirloin, Cheddar Wood Essence and Mustard Glaze, served with delicious and fluffy Creamy Mash Potato. Again, the knife slid through the medium rare flesh with so much ease. At this point, my silent companions looked-up at each other and all nodded in approval. We
couldn’t believe what was happening; it was just all so good. The only real disappointment of the evening was the Miso Glazed Salmon – overdone and dry. To finish, we had a platter with a bit of everything including the Flourless Chocolate Cake, but what stole my heart that evening was the Poached Mini Pears with Port Wine, finished with a dollop of Mascarpone Cheese. So luxurious, moreish and comforting, the pears were slowly simmered with cinnamon and star anise to bring out their delicate flavours. The fruits soaked-up the reduced syrup beautifully and the creamy Mascarpone rendered us speechless. The dessert was the zenith of a meal with many high points. I’ve never had this many foodgasms in one meal in Kenya! The incredible experience was also supported by a well-trained service team: polite, thorough and warm. Located away from the city’s restaurant hub, the team at 45 Degrees is doing their own thing, and quite happily so; and I think Cynthia would agree with me too. Susan Wong and her companions were guests of Harold Sena-Kota 45 Degrees Kitchen Marurui Road Garden Estate 0705 151 086 Eatout.co.ke/45-Degrees-Kitchen Follow Susan on IG: @Susanluckywong
What stole my heart that evening was the Poached Mini Pears with Port Wine
GRILLED CHICKEN BREASTS INGREDIENTS
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2 skinless chicken breasts 1 Tbsp Golden Fry vegetable oil 2 Tsp grated ginger 2 Tbsp clear honey 2 Tbsp rice vinegar 1 Tbsp sesame seeds, toasted
While the chicken is cooking, mix the ginger, honey and vinegar with a little seasoning in a small bowl. Brush over the chicken as it cooks – wait until it is grilled on one side first before brushing, or it will burn. Top with the chicken and sesame seeds.
Slice each chicken breast lengthways into 2 thin pieces. Rub with the oil and season on both sides. Heat a grill pan and cook the pieces for 2-3 mins each side.
As seen on www.jikoniyetu.com
CHINESE CHICKEN WITH BROCCOLI & MUSHROOMS NGREDIENTS
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2 Tbsp Olive Gold oil 500g boneless, skinless chicken thigh flour, for dusting 50g broccoli 300g small button mushroom 250ml chicken stock 1 Tbsp white wine vinegar 50g frozen peas Small handful parsley, finely chopped
Heat 1 Tbsp oil in a frying pan. Season and dust the chicken with flour, brown on all sides. Remove. Fry the broccoli and mushrooms until softened, then remove. Add the final Tbsp of oil and cook shallots for 5 mins. Add the stock and vinegar, bubble for 1-2 mins. Return the chicken, broccoli and mushrooms and cook for 15 mins. Add the peas and parsley and cook for 2 mins more, then serve.
As seen on www.jikoniyetu.com
CHICKEN NOODLE STIR FRY INGREDIENTS
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• • • • • •
2 blocks egg noodles 2 Tsp Sungold Lite oil 2 cooked chicken breasts, shredded 3 carrots, finely sliced into rings 2 Tbsp clear honey 1 Tbsp soy sauce Juice 2 limes 3 Tbsp toasted sesame seeds handful coriander leaves
Boil the noodles according to pack instructions, then drain and toss with 1 tsp oil. Heat the remaining oil in a wok and add the chicken and carrots. Stir-fry for a few mins. Add the honey, soy and lime juice, bubble for 30 secs, then add the noodles and sesame seeds. Mix well, heat through and sprinkle with coriander to serve.
As seen on www.jikoniyetu.com
BUTTER CHICKEN NGREDIENTS
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• • • • • •
25g butter 2 Tbsp Golden Fry Vegetable Oil 1 onion, halved and finely sliced 4 skinless chicken breasts, cut into chunks 2 Tbsp garam masala 3 garlic cloves, crushed 1 Tbsp finely grated ginger 2 Tbsp cashew nut butter 50ml double cream Handful of coriander, chopped
Heat the butter and oil in a large pan and fry the onion over a medium heat for 5 mins until soft. Add the chicken and continue to fry until turning golden brown. Add the garam masala, garlic and ginger. Leave to simmer, uncovered, for 20 mins. Just before serving, stir in the cashew nut butter and cream, season to taste and serve.
As seen on www.jikoniyetu.com
TEXT KATY FENTRESS
KENYA FRIED Deep fried chicken in Nairobi is no longer limited to a roasted and then flash fried bird, unceremoniously stuck in a piece of brown paper for customers to slather it in salt and lashings of that delicious chilli sauce poured from a mysterious plastic water bottle caked in the remnants of a thousand watery chilli sauces past. In order to find out how far our city has come in terms of fried chicken, Yummy photographer Peter Ndung’u and editor Katy Fentress dedicated an entire afternoon crisscrossing the city to try out different styles of the crisped up fowl.
Joes Atlanta Wings Ngong Road
Chicken Inn Ngong Road Drive Thru
Koreana Garden City Mall
BONELESS WINGS We had heard a lot about this place and were eager to try it out. It’s definitely got charm and we imagined that on evenings it gets quite busy. The sauces that we tried - a deliciously smokey honey bbq and a standard blue cheese - were all very tasty, although neither of us felt the batter, which we found thin and quite dry, did the chicken justice. The chicken itself was moist although we didn’t feel it had much in the way of flavour. Overall we came away satisfied but not wowed.
SPICY FRIED CHICKEN Maybe it is the fact they keep the skin on, maybe it’s the marinade, maybe it’s just this particular drive thru that put extra love into its fried kuku, whatever the case this is one insanely tasty piece of fried chicken. It was a bit spicy for Peter’s taste and he wished we had ordered the regular one but for me, it was just the right amount of heat.The one let down was the sachet of tomato sauce which felt out of place and undeserving of the crispy delight.
FRIED CHICKEN PIECE A perfectly balanced crispy chicken, once we bit into it we finally understood what the fuss on social media has been all about. The crust is superb, supremely crunchy with a thick batter which is both multilayered and multi-textured. The chicken itself was fine, not too dry, not too moist although we felt it paled in comparison with the batter (maybe they should just serve the batter as a standalone snack!).
Price: Ksh. 125 facebook.com/joes-atlanta-wings
Price: Ksh. 200 chickeninn.co.ke
Price: Ksh. 220 eatout.co.ke/thikaorad
American Fried Chicken Sarit Centre
PIECE OF LEG We felt we had to include an authentic Nairobi style fried chicken and without a KenChic to turn to, decided this was the closest thing. We were not disappointed by the nonchalant way in which our grease-drenched bundle was shoved into our hands. The chicken was greasy without the necessary flavour and the sauce had no acidity and tasted like chills blended with water. Maybe KenChic took their sauce recipe with them when they shut down.
CHICKEN DRUMSTICK It was a case of leaving the worst until last and we did a very good job of it. As the attendants reached for the sad lonely piece of chicken on the warming tray, I tried to tell them I was reviewing it so maybe they wanted to give me another piece but they shrugged and said it was â€œonlyâ€? cooked 40 minutes ago. It tasted like the oil was rancid, a bit suspect if you ask me and by no stretch of the imagination nice, palatable or a place we would ever go back to again.
Price: Ksh. 130 eatout.co.ke/mc-fries-westlands
Price: Ksh. 120 eatout.co.ke/saritcentre
KFC - Waiyaki Way Drive Thru SPICY CHICKEN The secret to KFC chicken is of course in the batter and on this point Pete and I were a bit disappointed. While to the bite it was undoubtedly crispy, we felt that overall the way the batter was distributed over the piece was not uniform with inconsistent crunchiness as a result. Despite being slathered in a red chilli powder, the meat itself is moist but a bit on the bland side. Not bad but we expected a bit more.
Price: Ksh. 200 eatout.co.ke/kfckenya
Katy Fentress discovers a most unlikely of locations to get Peking Duck in Nairobi - as long as you know to ask for the second menu that is
PHOTOGRAPHY PETER NDUNG'U
TEXT KATY FENTRESS
y brother is fond of recounting the tale of the time he had 24 hours to kill in Beijing (having just spent a month volunteering in Outer Mongolia where he had eaten nothing but boiled potatoes and meat) and decided he absolutely had to taste the most famous dish to ever come out of Beijing: Peking Duck. Peking Duck is a sweet roasted duck that is served shredded and wrapped in a thin pancake with sliced cucumbers, spring onions and a dollop of sweet plum sauce. When cooked right, with the skin all crispy and the meat moist from basting in its own fat for hours, it is the stuff of legend. I picture little 18-year-old Luke wandering around the streets of Beijing by himself without so much as a Lonely Planet guide to tell him where to go. In my mind he hesitantly walks into restaurants at random, mustering his courage before going through the door. He asks, in English, if they have Peking Duck and is given serving after serving of blank, noncomprehending looks. “Peking Duck? Beijing Duck?” Nothing, it seems, can get his question across. Desperate at the total communication breakdown, in one restaurant he resorts, much to the mirth of waiters and patrons alike, to flapping his arms up and down and saying “quack quack”. Sadly the story ends with Luke giving up on his quest. This being a time before TripAdvisor, it was probably not so easy to just look up where to get the best Peking Duck in town with a switch of the thumb. And in truth, my brother, who spent his entire adolescence with his head buried in a Terry Pratchett novel, was not the most street savvy 18-year-old on the block. My personal experiences with Peking duck are almost all exclusively London-based. I used to love walking around Chinatown staring at these amber coloured fowls hanging from the windows of the restaurants, beckoning tourists and locals alike to come and indulge in a delicious shredded duck pancake. I would happily acquiesce, always on the quest to understanding what made
one duck better than the other. Here in Nairobi, for some reason, I always assumed that they just didn’t make Peking Duck. That is until recently when I happened to stop for a quick lunch at Double Dragon at the Junction Mall food court. As I tucked into my vegetable fried rice (always a lunch favourite especially when accompanied by those pink and crunchy pickled onions I am so delighted by), I chatted with the amiable Chef Robert, who, after some prodding, confessed to the existence of a second menu from which, with adequate forewarning, a Peking Duck could be ordered. The secret to Peking Duck comes from its sweet and spicy rub and, according to my research, from the act of separating the skin from the flesh so that the fat renders and bastes the meat while it is cooking. At Double Dragon, it seems that they skip the skin step, but still roast it in a large oval shape oven which allows the bird to hang freely and not come in contact with any surface. Traditionally, the main part of the duck is reserved for the pancake wraps while the carcass is used to make a duck soup, and the remaining meat mixed into delicious salads or vegetable dishes. When I returned a week later to feast on said duck, Double Dragon had gone all out, laying dish after dish of duck variations for me to taste and indulge in. Not a dish that is particularly easy to prepare on one’s own, this is one that is best left to the experts. Similar versions can be cooked at home though, one in particular by everyone’s favourite Jamie Oliver, looked quite user-friendly so I thought I would adopt that one instead of trying to go down the complex and time-consuming traditional method. Katy was a guest of the Double Dragon food court restaurant situated at the Food Court of Junction Mall.
JAMIE OLIVER’S PEKING DUCK RECIPE 1.
Preheat your oven at 170ºC and rub a large duck with a handful of salt, two handfuls of brown sugar, Chinese five spice and some grated ginger.
Place the duck in a roasting tray and put it in the oven
Once every half hour or so open up the oven and baste the bird with the rendering fat to make sure the skin gets extra crispy
Approximately two hours later your duck should be ready. The meat should pull off the bone and the skin wonderfully crisp (if not just put the oven up to 200ºC for fifteen minutes)
While the duck is cooking you can make the plum sauce. Put 12 de-stoned plums in a pot with 5 tablespoons of sugar, some pinches of Chinese fivespice, a large pinch of chilli, two tablespoons of soy sauce and a splash of water. Bring to a boil and then blend it into a nice smooth paste. Set aside allow to cool before serving.
For serving, slice your cucumbers and spring onions into long thin fingers.
Pancakes will possibly be your biggest challenge as it is rare to find them in Nairobi supermarkets so your best bet is to either ask a restaurant to deliver them to you or try your hand at making them yourself with a thinned-down version of your favourite pancake recipe.
Invest in a steamer which can be bought in any of the Chinese shops around town and which will elevate the presentation of your dish.
Serve all elements separate and allow everyone to have fun rolling up their own wraps.
By this time Tendrils of white smoke are seeping out of the edges of the smoker
PHOTOGRAPHY PETER NDUNG'U TEXT WINNIE WANGUI
SMOKE AND CABINETS Curiosity sends Winnie Wangui into the industrial size kitchen at InterContinental Nairobi, where Executive Chef Simon Wanjau lets her into the secret of his smoking cabinet
ince the dawn of our time, humans have smoked meat. Originally this was done as a way of keeping away flies, but eventually someone realised that the smoke acted a preservative which extended the shelf life of their meat and fish. So it was, that a tradition that was popular throughout Europe and much of the Northern hemisphere during the Middle Ages, was reborn in the modern era as a cooking methodology prized not because of its preserving properties, but for the amazing layers of flavour that smoking can impart to food. Today it is no longer just fish and meat that are smoked but anything from fruit, to vegetables and cheeses. Smoked foods have recently and discretely begun popping up in Nairobi restaurants. A smoked whipped cream here, a beef brisket there, but nothing to indicate we are at the full blown trend stage yet. With that in mind, I was recently surprised to discover during the course of a business lunch at The Terrace restaurant in the InterContinental Hotel, that the chicken in my chicken and mango salad had a unmistakably smoky flavour. Intrigued, I began to question Simon Wanjau, the Executive Chef
for both of the Intercontinental Restaurants, who was happy to invite me back for a complete visit of his kitchen and smoking contraption. Fast forward a week and I am being handed a white coat and hairnet and instructed to remove all forms of jewellery before crossing the yellow line which marks where the kitchen starts.
now. “We resorted to remodelling it,” he continues, “because it was already retaining temperatures for long periods of time and importing a smoker would have been too expensive”. On the metal countertop sit two pieces of chicken breast in separate bowls. One, the chef explains, has already been smoked but is not ready
The smoker is a small iron cabinet with two sections inside. “We remodelled one of our room service trolley temperature warmers into this culinary masterpiece which we use to smoke chicken, salmon, tilapia, vegetables and even beef,” mentions Chef Simon, who has been at InterContinental Nairobi for six years
for consumption, while the other, has been smoked and boiled in a spiced orange and mango juice, and is now ready to serve. I ask Chef Simon what exactly smoking a chicken consists in and he replies: “Watch”. Chef Simon’s assistant brings a tray filled with oak chips, covered in aluminium foil and inserts it in
the bottom part of the smoker. The raw marinated chicken breast is then placed on the top shelf. “For best results”, says Chef Simon, “it is always advisable to use chicken that has not been refrigerated. All you need to do is debone the chicken breast, marinate it with cumin, fennel, orange pulp, brown sugar, sea salt, and pepper and let it rest for 24 hours. After that, drain the excess marinade and toss it in the smoker for 6 to 8 hours.” By this time, tendrils of white smoke are seeping out of the edges of the smoker. When the door is partly opened, a thick cloud comes pouring out. While the chicken is left inside to cook, Chef gives us a taste of the smoked chicken before it is boiled. The small piece fills my mouth with bitterness, I can’t help but cringe. “That is why we boil it in the juice,” explains Chef Simon, “to tone down the excess bitterness from the smoke.” Chef Simon tells me that he recently got to show off his smoked chicken at one of the prized fine dining Chaîne des Rôtisseurs meals. Despite the challenge of putting it all together, he tells me his mango and smoked chicken timbale got a standing ovation, something he isn’t going to forget any time soon.
Almost everything you knew about Mexican food is wrong, so throw away those cheesy nachos and get stuck into the Yummy Magazine Mexican food tutorial 101.
MEXICO VS. TEXAS f you have never set foot in Mexico, you would be forgiven for thinking that burritos overflowing with rice, pulled beef and guacamole; nachos swimming in molten yellow cheese, chili con carne and fajitas filled with strips of stir-fried chicken and capsicum; are the quintessential culinary elements of this country that sits on the southern border of the United States. As with many other dishes - think Mac and Cheese and Kung Po chicken if you will - immigrants to the USA fused their traditional cuisines with locally available ingredients and ended up creating recipes that were often far removed from their original conception. When it came to Mexican food, the dishes already existed and it was more a case of ranchers coming to Texas to breed cows and grow wheat, adapting the local Mexican cuisine to suit the ingredients they had at their disposal.
The cornerstone of all Mexican food is Masa, a type of maize meal that undergoes a specific process in order to hull and tenderise the kernels before they are ground. Tacos, tamales and empanadas (kind of a large, fried, meaty ravioli) are all made from Masa. And here lies the major distinction between Mexican cuisine (which in itself is not a homogenous category) and what evolved into TexMex cuisine. While Mexican dishes are mostly defined by maize-based dishes, goat, pork and seafood; Tex-Mex food is defined by wheat, beef, sweet corn, canned beans and industrially processed American-style cheese. Other distinctions between Tex-Mex and Mexican are in the use of spices. Whereas Tex-Mex relies on dry spices - think paprika, cumin, cinnamon and black pepper - Mexicans focus more on fresh herbs - oregano and coriander - and a larger array of different chillies to flavour their
foods. It is safe to say that Tex-Mex is more about using ingredients that have been processed on a large scale - so things that come out of a can or were prepared for easy consumption elsewhere - while Mexican food (much like Kenyan) only really uses fresh ingredients which are prepared for the occasion. HECHO IN KENYA When the owners of Fonda NBO, a Mexican restaurant that opened in 2017 on the top floor of Rosslyn Riviera Mall, were at the conceptual stage of their restaurant, one thing they knew for sure was that they intended to steer clear of all TexMex food. Having lived in the US for fifteen years, husband and wife Yash Krishna and Salisha Chandra, were determined to bring to Nairobi as close as a Mexican experience as they could manage. “We travelled to Mexico where we learned how to cook 200 odd dishes
over the course of four months there,” says Krishna, who comes from a hotel management background and whose passion for Mexican cuisine is palpable. Their aim, he recently told me over a cool glass of Agua Fresca - a refreshing non-alcoholic range of beverages that are extremely popular at the restaurant - was to only serve dishes that were conceived in Mexico. “Our research took place in museums, in markets, in the streets and in people’s houses”, says Krishna, underlining that the couple made a conscious decision to steer away from places that served nouveau styles of Mexican cuisine in favour of more traditional eateries. “When it came to designing the restaurant and its menu, we tried to let our five senses guide us. Although we decided that most things in the restaurant would be made in Kenya, every decision was informed by the colours, the materials, the feel, the sounds and the smells we became familiar with over
DISH SPOTLIGHT YUMMY
TEXT KATY FENTRESS
the course of our stay in Mexico”. With somewhere in the region of 3000 different recipes to choose from, Krishna explains it was quite a task narrowing them down for their Nairobi menu. Eventually though, they decided to focus mainly on food from the Central region of Oaxaca and, once they broadly knew what it was they wanted, they hired a Mexican chef from Fonda Fina, one of their favourite restaurants in Mexico City, to come and help train the Fonda NBO staff. THE REAL NACHO In the early days of Fonda NBO, one issue that Krishna kept on coming up against was that people would get disappointed when they found out there weren’t any nachos on the menu. “It was quite frustrating to have to constantly tell customers that we didn’t serve nachos as they aren’t technically Mexican”, he confides. The challenge had a simple solution
and soon Quilaquiles (Kee-la-keeless) were added to the menu. Quilaquiles, Krishna explains, are a quintessential Mexican dish that has its roots in an Aztec term that roughly translates as “herbs or greens in chili broth”. Essentially a form of Mexican comfort food, the dish is usually eaten for breakfast and brunch although it makes for a perfect bar snack too. At Fonda NBO, the chef churns out Totopos - basically a baked or friend broken up taco we’re talking tortilla chips here but according to Urban Dictionary it is very bad to call Totopos tortilla chips, so forget I said anything which are then simmered in a salsa verde (green sauce) and topped with beans, fresh white cheese, picode-gallo (Mexican kachumbari) and chicken. The dish is tasty and comforting, and lacks the guilt associated with scoffing down a calorie-laden plate
MASA To prepare this unique form of maize meal the dried maize must first be nixtamalised - a process that involves simmering kernels for twenty minutes and then soaking them for up to 8 hours in an alkaline solution in order to hull and tenderise them for grinding. The wet maize is then washed and the skins separated out at which point it is ground into the dough called masa. When the masa
of cheesy nachos. Truth be told I had never even heard of it before coming to Fonda NBO but now that I have, I intend to make it my bar snack of choice in the coming World Cup season. Katy learned all about Quilaquiles as a guest at Fonda NBO restaurant
is dried and powdered it then becomes masa harina. In traditional communities families grew their own maize and then brought it to a communal mill (molino) to be ground. Masa is the cornerstone of Mexican cuisine and is used to make tortillas, quilaquiles, empanadas, dumplings and tamales.
FONDA NBO Rosslyn Riviera Mall Limuru Road 0735 053829 Eatout.co.ke/fonda
PHOTO BRIAN SIAMBI TEXT SYLVIA KERUBO
FLAME GRILLED Since opening its doors to the Kenyan market in 1996, the South African Steers restaurant chain has opened 4 branches around Nairobi. It is no secret that Kenyans love their chicken and Steers has over the years continued to fine tune its offerings to make sure there is something for everyone. Born and raised in Zimbabwe, 49 year old Craig Flanagan is currently the General Manager of Steers. He has been in the country for one year now and shares his experience working in Kenya with us. What inspired you to get into this business? The challenge of serving customers’ needs and the need to make customers happy. The reward of customer satisfaction. What were you doing before you got into the restaurant business? I was in a similar business in Zambia. Worked for 10 years before coming here. I have worked in many countries in Africa; Zambia, Mozambique, Botswana, South Africa, Zimbabwe and now Kenya. What kind of challenges did Steers face when it launched? It was a new concept to customers in Kenya and it was an introduction for consumers into the whole Western quick service restaurant concept; where you can get food of very high quality at a reasonable price. Once people got to know it, they certainly got to love it. There were also challenges with regards to regulation
as this was a fairly new industry. The laws around it in terms of health and hygiene, work safety, labour regulation evolved as the business grew. As a company we have seen a lot of changes in that. We have had to adapt. Do you feel like Kenyans have embraced the brand? Absolutely. Kenyans have embraced the culture of quick service restaurant as well as the expanding home delivery service for fast food. How many branches do you have in Nairobi? We have 4 branches: Donholm, South C, Muindi Mbingu and Ngong Road What sets you apart from the other grill joints in the city? First and foremost, the quality of product. We believe in the Steers Motto – 100%. By 100% we mean pure beef, pure natural ingredients from the vegetables on the burger to
the burger roll. It is also a matter of satisfying customers’ needs which are constantly evolving in our business in terms of pricing points, size of meals and what that meal actually is. How is Steers in Kenya different from its South Africa counterparts? There are slightly different items on the menu within the international countries but the core and the essence of the brand remains the same. The price also varies, but it all depends on the raw material costs. Kenya is well known for high priced raw materials so the prices are probably slightly higher compared to other countries. Tell me something about the business (almost) nobody knows… There is nothing. What keeps people coming back to Steers year after year? It is more than just the quality of food. It is the Steers experience that a
person gets. A person gets high quality of product at a really good price and is served in such a short time. The meals are prepared quickly. So it’s all that that goes with bringing our customers back. It’s the 100%. What surprises do you have in store for your loyal customers? Steers in the last month has launched a brand new menu throughout Kenya. It still has the same 100% real beef burgers but we have expanded to our grilled chicken offering which is a very unique product and we think it’s something new to Kenya. It is a marinated and grilled roast chicken unlike any other in the Kenyan market. Our secret is in the time and ingredients we use in our marinating, which is done fro 24 hours. We also have exciting promotions coming up. Our first promotion is going to be a combination meal of burgers with chicken and fries for one really great price. What we plan for the rest of the year are promotions that start every two months.
WINE CORNER YUMMY
TEXT JOSIAH KAHIU
What is the difference between Sweet Wine and Dessert Wine? Angela Omondi, 24
WINTER CHALICES It’s cold, grey and gloomy out there and the weather shows no sign of letting up any time soon. Luckily Josiah Kahiu is at hand to help you choose the perfect glass to cure your cold season blues.
s we all know, winter is coming (yes Kenya does have a winter of sorts) and while you are preparing to overhaul your wardrobe with wooly sweaters and comfortable TV wear, I thought it was time to help you choose your wines accordingly for those comfy nights in. When we think of cold season wines, we inevitably think red wines. One of my favourite classic red wines out there that is perfect for all seasons but specifically stands out, is a Barolo. This wine, made from Northern Italian Nebbiolo grapes, can be deceiving in appearance. Its elegant pale colour would suggest a Pinot Noir but that is as far as the similarities go. This wine has high acidity and lively tannins that will leave your palate asking for more. It is perfect for those meaty meals and will provide an experience that few will forget. As you try to keep warm with your big stews and grilled meats, there is a big bold wine that fits the bill
perfectly. An Argentine or Australian Shiraz is a winner in this category. Its strong fruit forward aromas with a generally high alcohol content (1415% ABV) make it the perfect wine to keep you warm. It is not considered a subtle wine, so pay close attention to the food pairing. As mentioned, it matches perfectly with grilled meats and will leave you comfortably full while passing the night away warm on your sofa. If you are looking for something warm and familiar, nothing beats a good Cabernet Sauvignon. The layered complexity of a Cabernet Sauvignon is the perfect gloomy weather companion. Whether it is diving into your slow cooked duck or that medium rare steak, this wine will leave you in that perfect state of hibernation as you wait for the clouds to pass. No winter red wine list can be complete, in my opinion, without my favourite Italian classic - Sangiovese. This traditional, rustic wine is earthy with high acidity and tannins - two
key ingredients to keep you warm. This wine goes with an assortment of dishes and will even cater for those vegetarians among you. Perfect with meals or as a stand-alone wine, its complex nose is good for sniffing while you sink into your new book or while binge-watching your favourite Netflix show. For those of you out there who think is it only red wines that are suitable for this season, guess again. Oaked Chardonnays are wonderful this time of year. Nothing evokes sitting at home and enjoying a glass of wine like a full-bodied Chardonnay. Its buttery, vanilla and caramel flavours are a perfect match for those warm cream-based soups, creamy pasta sauces and chicken. So if you are not in the mood for a red wine, I suggest you look for a Burgundy Chardonnay, it will not leave you disappointed. So there you are, your winter wine guide. Don't let the gloominess of the weather get you down, there is always a glass of wine to save you from the melancholy.
People tend to get really confused here. Sweet wines differ from dessert wines in a couple of ways and are usually targeted to different markets. The main difference is that sweet wines are generally made from dry wines with some sort of sweetener added, while dessert wines are naturally sweet and tend to have a higher alcohol content. In most sweet wine making processes, the unfermented grape juice is added to the dry wine. This increases the sugar content due to the fact that the unfermented juice still has a high concentration of sugars. Another method to produce sweet wine is by stopping the fermentation process when the desired sugar level has been reached. This is the less common and more difficult method as controlling fermentation is a delicate art to perform. Dessert wines, are termed as naturally sweet. This is because no sweetener is added. The process of making dessert wines starts at the harvesting stage, where special attention is taken to ensure the grapes have achieved the desired ripening. As a grape ripens, the natural sugar content in the grape increases, allowing for more sugar which produces a wine with a higher alcohol content. Some winemakers allow their grapes to be infected by “noble rot”, a fungus that creates a small hole in the skin of the grape allowing the water to evaporate, concentrating the sugars. The outcome is to produce raisin styled berries with a very high sugar content, which produce a sweet wine with a high alcohol content. So the next time you go out to buy slightly sweeter wines, expect to pay more for dessert wines than you do sweet wines due to the more intricate process that goes into making them.
MAN ABOUT TOWN
TEXT JACKSON BIKO
THE MEANING The death of one of his literary heroes leaves Jackson Biko wondering about the meaning of all this.
won’t say where I was seated having a drink. But I will say that it was in Westlands. And I was alone - for a while, at least. It’s an old bar with furniture that smells of the 80s and cryptic art pictures of red hearts with swords plunged into them on walls. It’s old tan wood. Smoky mirror in the loo. As a rule, I don’t drink alone. I never pass a bar and think, “let me nip in for one or two then head home.” I want to drink with another human being. Preferably one who can talk. But I was alone because when I came out of a meeting nearby I found my car had a flat so while I waited for the car rescue guys sort it out, I decided to wait in this nearby bar, three minutes walk away. It’s a bar known for drunken expats and humanitarian hacks and a unique brand of women of the night who follow these breed like sharks after a trawler. But it was only 7pm, so I figured these cast wouldn’t be here until 10pm at the earliest.
I was in the mood for something smoky so I ordered a double of Laphroaig. Neat. Then I opened my Esquire magazine app on my phone and lowered my head for a reading. After twenty minutes I went into Twitter and discovered that Anthony Bourdain had killed himself a few hours earlier! And it basically knocked me off my seat. Not literally, of course, I’m not that dramatic, but figuratively. I always see celebrities as some rare birds in a faraway forest. A virtual forest. I’m never attached to them. I wouldn’t die for them. Or cross a road to get their autograph. Unless it’s Samuel L Jackson, because he’s a badass. If George Clooney, by some strange and horrible fate died, I don't think it would affect me much. I’d think it’s tragic, yeah, but I don’t think it would knock me off my seat. Denzel Washington? Maybe just a little. Matt Damon? Nah. Will Smith? Not awfully. Snoop Dogg? Well I’d feel bad
because Snoop would die with the nostalgia of the 90s that was defined by teenage angst. But Anthony Bourdain? My goodness, it stabbed me in the heart. Maybe it’s because he was such a mercurial writer. And I admired him and I always think that God will not let people I admire die. I read his bestseller, “Kitchen Confidential”, before anyone in my cycle knew who Bourdain was. I then read “Medium Raw” soon after. I then bought “No Reservations” but didn’t finish because it didn’t have him in there. He was missing in it. Maybe he was already famous and didn’t feel the need to break his back writing it. I haven’t watched “Parts Unknown,” because my relationship with TV is lazy. I was ruined by his death. The only other time I felt like this over the death of a celebrity is when the intrepid Times UK writer, AA Gill, died of cancer last year. I sat there at that bar feeling different emotions for this person I
had never met. It just seemed odd that someone so successful and having the time of his life would kill himself. Then I called a friend of mine and asked him if he heard and he said, “It’s not about happiness, it’s about meaning.” I looked around the bar and wondered what all these meant. These meetings and this drink and that guy nodding off in a bar at 7:30pm, and the music and I opened my calendar for the next day and stared at my meetings and thought, what is the meaning of all these? At night I lay still in bed, staring at the ceiling and I thought what is the meaning of anything? Then I slept and when I woke up, I had less answers and more meetings. Then Katy, the editor, whatsapped me and said this copy was due and if I didn’t send it right this moment things would go pear-shaped quickly so I sat down and stared at the Word documents and thought, “what is the meaning of these deadlines?”
IN A PICKLE
TEXT MARAH KÖBERLE
CENTURY EGGS After getting the theory part of her research done, Marah Köberle wonders if she can stomach the practice part and eat a most unappealing looking of eggs.
n a quest for century-old preservation techniques, I find myself seated in one of Nairobi’s many Chinese restaurants, on that stretch of Argwings Kodhek Road in Hurlingham that I call the “Chinatown” of Nairobi. The restaurant is located in the same place as a round-the-clock casino with colourful flashing lights beckoning in gamblers from outside. Inside the lights of the chandeliers shine bright and the walls are decorated with red ornaments and wall hangings. The tables next to us are frequented by Chinese patrons, their tables overflowing with delicacies. I spot serving plates of spicy crayfish, bowls of mutton soup, colorful salads as well as sizzling plates with octopus and meat dishes. Some of the tables have extra serving trays next to them as the dishes exceed the space on the table. Behind the counter a huge glass container with schnapps and a massive ginseng-root, which looks a bit like a wrinkly hand, catches my attention. I am not here for a normal dinner, although I am waiting for our food to arrive. I am here on a mission: finding a Chinese dish,
dubbed ‘Century Egg’ or ‘ThousandYear-Old Egg’ or in its Mandarin name “Pidan”. This pickled delicacy is made from preserving eggs for weeks or months in a mixture of clay, ash, salt, quicklime and rice hulls. The fermentation process transforms the yolk into a grey or dark green creamy mass, while the egg white turns to a translucent jelly with a strong salty and umami flavour. As I wait for our food, my curiosity is mixed with the apprehension of not knowing if I’ll be able to enjoy the coagulated egg. That said, the excitement to have found the egg in the first place is stronger. Diving into the world of pidan I learned that the eggs are produced both in Chinese households in the traditional way, as well as in huge quantities in factories. The preservation technique is ancient, said to originate in the Ming Dynasty more than 600 years ago. While preserving eggs in a time of plenty is said to have been one reason to use the technique, the quest to create more complex flavours through fermentation is suggested to be another. Like making cheese from milk, the fermentation of the eggs creates a new taste
experience. Today pidan eggs are a popular dish in China and other Eastern Asian countries. After arriving at the restaurant I scan the menu which is full of pictures and descriptions of the dishes on offer. To my disappointment, I can’t find pidan or pidan dou-fu anywhere. Walking up to the Chinese owner of the place, the language barrier is evident but eventually, she signals that she can prepare it for me. The cold dish arrives as a starter. Chopped pidan egg is sprinkled over silky thin silken tofu slices. Some sliced spring onions and a vinaigrette of sesame oil, Chinese vinegar and soy sauce complete the dish. The pidan looks exactly as expected. Greenish-blackish yolk and gelatinous translucent egg-white pieces. Hesitant, I grab my chopsticks to dig in and am pleasantly surprised. The light saltiness and umami flavour of the egg complements the fresh tofu and rich vinaigrette resulting in an interesting and balanced dish. I immediately dive in for seconds. I make a mental note: don’t let the description or look of a food influence your opinion about it. Try it before judging.
PREPARATION Ingredients 3 – 4 cups very strong black tea 2/3 cup salt 3 cups wood ash 3 cups charcoal ash 1 ¾ cups quicklime 18 fresh eggs (duck or chicken) 2-3 pounds rice chaff Latex gloves Method Brew very strong black tea and let it sit for an hour. Mix the ashes, salt and quicklime. Add the tea bit by bit to make sure the mass is solid and not watery. Place the rice chaff in a separate bowl. Use the latex gloves as the mixture might cause discomfort to your skin. Coat each egg with the mixture. Place each fully coated egg in the bowl with the rice chaff. Cover it completely and press lightly so the chaff sticks to the egg. Set the covered egg aside on a plate and repeat with the next one. Line a large crock with garden soil (preferably soil with a high clay content), place the eggs and cover with more soil. Store in a cool, dark place and don’t cover it, it should be able to dry out. Wait for 100 days to crack them open and enjoy. Follow Marah on: www.koeberle.me
NAIROBI BURGER FESTIVAL 27th Jul - 5th Aug 2018