Hidden at the back of a quiet Warwick Center, Four Café Bistro is an oasis of calm and modernity. It’s also home to some inspired cooking and massive portions.
A sunny day in the capital of Kenya and Four Café Bistro has a few tricks up its sleeve. My companions and I could sit indoors, a nice enough space, but who wants to be in there on a day like this? The terrace – light tiled floors dotted with elegant and intricate metal tables and chairs – is a still space, where the world is paused and the trickling water from a small water fountain dampens the sounds of passing traffic.
We scan the menu, there are quick bites to mains to shared plates to salads to paninis to pastas and even pizzas. We’re spoilt by choice. We begin with the Signature Cheese Bread (Sh350) to whet our palates as we wait for our mains. The massive loaf with red peppers and melted cheese arrived aromatically; but seemed like an ambitious challenge to finish, not because of poor taste but because of sheer size – it had twelve slices! Eating the entire portion might just have led to a blissful food-induced coma.
The Fish Tacos (Sh750) were hardly traditional where a corn or wheat tortilla folded around a delicious filling; instead, Four Café Bistro’s were more “deconstructed” with deep-fried fish cubes served with a side of tortilla chips. Bland and generally dry, this was definitely my least favourite. An Herbed Chicken and Asparagus Salad, Organic Greens dressed with a Balsamic Glaze (Sh650) completed our starters.
A plate of fresh salad, fries and Aged Cheddar, Swiss and Blue Cheese oozing over a grilled beef patty arrives. My companion’s Three Cheese Burger (Sh850) certainly looked as good as it tasted. However, the beef patty was dry thanks to its thin profile. The Cajun Blackened Tilapia with Herb Grilled Potatoes and Steamed Vegetables (Sh950) was on the oily side, sitting in a small pool of grease – something that could’ve been easily corrected if the excess oil from the crispy fish fillet was drained or blotted away. My large portion of Lamb Chops Morocco with Garlic Mash Potatoes and Chili Mint Chutney (Sh1,250) was both succulent and delicious. I especially enjoyed the slicked-up classic Mint Jelly, a tried-and true accompaniment with lamb. The subtle chili flavours added another welcomed layer of pzazz.
Service was surprisingly quick even with the lunch rush, conversations buzzed and Four Café Bistro was heaving with activity. With its proximity to the United Nations compound and US Embassy, it’s understandable that Four Café Bistro has become a neighbourhood favourite for quick lunches and coffee runs.
I skipped dessert as my companions and I had already over-ordered. But there remains a feeling of loss. Spoilt by choice, there were so many other things I wanted to try, especially the Paninis (Sh450-Sh690) and their Signature Bowls (Sh950) where you choose the style of sauce you prefer with a choice of protein and if you’d like it with rice or noodles. I also look forward to sampling Four Café Bistro’s pastas – the likes of Milano, Roma and Sorrento.
Four Café Bistro’s massive portions is not its only selling point, a diverse menu and relaxed atmosphere closely follow. If you’re ever in the Warwick Center area, check out the latest neighbourhood hotspot. It’s worth a try.
Lamb Chops Morocco
Cajun Blackened Tilapia with Herb Grilled Potatoes and Steamed Vegetables