3 Hidden culinary gems of Nairobi’s CBD

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susan wong nairobi cbd restaurants kenya

Foot traffic is crucial for restaurants and bars, and undoubtedly, Town definitely has that going for it. In fact, some of the most successful restaurants in the country are those serving the same meals, on the same plastic plates, served by the same people, and at the same prices as they did more than 15 years ago, when they first opened in Town.

Town may be the last place you’d expect to find good culinary gems, but trust me, aside from the usual well-guarded hotel institutions and popular restaurants such as Trattoria and Ronalo’s, there are and they’re definitely worth the trip.

HIDDEN GEMS

BREAKFAST

If you’ve been following my culinary journey for the last few years, it should be no surprise that KK Restaurant on the ground floor of Bruce House, Standard Street, receives the first mention.

I love chicken. My favourite being free-range birds – known as kienyeji in Kenya – because they simply taste better. What do I love more than chicken? A slowly-simmered chicken soup.

LUNCH

“Roooosieeee.” “Roooosie… matumbo na chapo.””ROOOSIIEEE stew na ugali.”

Until I started dining at Petma Restaurant on Kaunda Street, located on the ground floor of Traveler’s Building, I’ve never heard the name Rosie called out so many times in my life.

Meet Rosie: The chef of Petma on Kaunda St. (there are 3 locations in Town) and probably Nairobi’s most famous Rosie. The 30-something chef stoically serves up some of Town’s tastiest Kenyan classics at incredible fast-food speeds despite the chaos that surrounds her.

My usual is Matumbo or tripe with Mbuzi soup – make sure you ask for it otherwise you’ll get a reddish gravy that tastes like Royco and food colouring.

DINNER

Head to Kaldis Coffee House on Kimathi Street for some of the best steak around in Nairobi’s CBD.

The first step to cooking any great cut of meat is to first buy a great piece of meat; and at Kaldis they do considering I still thoroughly enjoyed my tasty Sirloin even when it was severely undercooked and on another occasion, overdone. That being said, the little bit of charring and the chef’s plentiful seasoning adds a delicious crust that keeps the meat juicy and tender at the center, making this one of the most delicious and affordable steaks in the city.

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SUSAN WONG

Susan Wong is the Editor of Capital Lifestyle, a resident photographer, an award-winning journalist, radio presenter, full-time adventurer, long-time admirer of anything edible, and a spicy food athlete at Capital FM.

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