A delicious end to New Year resolutions
12 months ago, 12 Jan 21:53
After spending time with family and friends throughout December, I’ve been finding it hard adjusting to being alone. On a whim, I figured that since people hang out in malls, I would head out to Two Rivers and just walk around in a sea of people. While it is a great spot for shopping, I keep forgetting just how big and soulless this spot is – particularly in January when it is largely empty and even your breath seems to echo off the walls. I walked around some stores browsing through racks of expensive clothes I couldn’t possibly afford and after getting bored, stumbled across Cafe Arabika. Like millions of other people around the world, some of my goals this year are to eat healthy and be more mindful of my monthly budget, and yet here was a new cafe whose sign kept beckoning to me until I gave in to the hypnosis. Besides, after all that cardio walking around the mall, I decided that I might as well go in because that’s exactly why we have eateries in malls. NICE, TANGY SAUCE Perusing through the menu, I was drawn to the Lebanese section which had classic and generally healthy Mediterranean food items like falafel, hummus (which I had just about enough of in 2017) and tabbouleh, which is a salad whose name always reminds me of the Congolese musician Tabu Ley. If this is your first foray into Levantine cuisine, get the mixed mezze platter for about Sh840 and try a bit of everything. I settled for a chicken shawarma which was decently priced at Sh780. The meat was very tender, which is ideal for shawarmas since it is often slow grilled in a vertical spit for up to a day. The winning touch for this stuffed pita dish at Café Arabika has got to be its tangy dressing. There was an accompanying tahini sauce that I didn’t even try because that would only mask the kick from the dressing. I decided to save one half for later, and they packed it into a plastic tin for which I was charged Sh50, a cost I have never had to incur anywhere else in Nairobi. Not wanting to leave just yet, I ordered a grilled beef kebab and because I am weak willed, got that with a side of french fries. I expected it to be skewered as with a shish kebab, or sliced into thin shavings as with a doner kebab. Heck, I half expected to even get one of those Kenyan kebabs which always soaks up way too much oil. However what I got looked like flattened burger patties and were packed with flavour. Walking up to the counter to pay my bill, I was immediately drawn to their dessert display. They had a two-for-one offer and the fruit cake looked so good that I got a slice at Sh450, never mind that I don’t even like cakes. It had grapes and strawberries on it which I insist ...