No one told me the road to getting married was so harrowing and nerve-wracking. Let no one lie to you, the whole process is terrible and you need to find joy, wherever you can get it. That’s what I did in the days leading to the wedding and after, and here are the spots that are worthy of the name.
I love flowers and plants! Not only are they pretty, but it’s also kinda nice to keep something so fragile alive. Plus, I really like talking to plants and having them not talk (Or bark) back at me. With a new obsession for succulents and balcony gardens, keeping plants healthy and happy or even getting new choices is becoming a bit limited. That’s where the new plants shop Herbivore Garden comes in. Based in Gigiri lane, the Herbivore Garden centre is a dream for plant lovers. Designed like a greenhouse with the potential of being a cafe, they have an eclectic and diverse range of plants, flowers and plant care products imported from Holland. From beautiful small lemon and orange plants to orchids of different types and sizes, the garden centre is a gorgeous walk through of green and other colours that make the eyes feel calm.
You can find salad, vegetable, herb, fruit seedlings, exotic flowers, succulent’s and many other gardening accessories. Their founder, Suraj Shah, started this project from his family home in Thika where he grew up surrounded by a family who were passionate about farming and gardening. With the green fingers passed down through generations, Suraj is a Permaculture Design Consultant and a passionate herb gardener and he believes that every person is an extension of Mother Nature and therefore people should grow at least a small part of their daily food intake.
My favourite part of the whole tour was a real Venus Flytrap (Tiny but deadly) that actually snapped shut when we ran a piece of junk in it. The Herbivore Garden Centre is what I believe a garden should be. If you’re a beginner in gardening or an expert, this is the place for you!
This is one of those places that is simply designed and might make you think that the food is okay but it was far from it. I tried 3 dishes here and none of them disappointed from the spicy chicken curry to the masala fries. The stand out dish, however, was the Poussin Chicken. The heat from the chilli combined with the crispiness of fried chicken is hard to resist and easy to get wrong but the chef at BBQ Kitchen has found the right balance of crunch and heat. Paired with a soft and fluffy butter naan and homemade tamarind sauce, my taste buds were in heaven. The interior is inspired by the simple shacks you find at the Coast with wooden pillars and furniture all made from scratch and potted palms adding to the seaside ambience. The food is best enjoyed family-style with hands reaching over for extra naan and loud conversation.
Almost everyone who knows me knows that I am a die-hard Java fan. It’s almost like home at this point and when I found out that they had launched a Java Express, you can bet I was one of the first to have a look. Now, I am convinced all Java’s should be tiny! The coffee is fantastic as always but better than that, all my Java favourites now come in mini sizes – which means, just as tasty, cheaper and a better size for my appetite. You haven’t known happiness until you’ve had a single cappuccino with a mini almond croissant on a cold rainy day. This hidden gem from Java is located on Peponi Road at the Oilibya Petrol Station. Get there early before all the croissants run out!
Olepangi comes as a surprise last-minute addition to this article, but I just couldn’t resist. After very stressful months of wedding planning, the wedding was done which means honeymoon time! We were lucky enough to spend nights at Olepangi Farm in Timau where we met and dined with people around the world and a first-time culinary experience. Olepangi Farm is run by Clinton and Elizabeth who are gracious hosts, and the farm is exactly that: A farm. It is a family-run lodge that hosts homely cottages, beautiful grounds, horse paddocks, gin tastings and even a beautiful library. Our 3 nights at Olepangi were exactly what we wanted, filled with peace and quiet with the occasional elephant sighting and rainstorms. The holiday was made even better by the concept of communal eating where 3 times a day, we and other residents at the farm, including the owners, sat down together at the same table to enjoy meals together. Meals that came from the mind of the head Chef Joseph and most ingredients from Olepangi’s very own vegetable garden. Communal meals are not something I am used to and honestly hearing that I had to eat and talk with strangers is a bit scary. But I needn’t have worried. Food is a great ice breaker, and delicious food, even better. Conversation flowed easily as meals were served one after the other. That’s another thing that made me happy: We didn’t know what food was coming! There was no menu, no guide for us to follow. We just followed the smell and trusted Joseph (And I’m glad we did). If you’re looking for a place to read, reconnect, maybe pet a few dogs and horses, Olepangi is for you. If you want a place where you can enjoy good wine, have food that makes you feel alive and have tea brought to you with scones and cream, Olepangi is still for you! P.S: If you see a hulking big dog running at you, don’t panic. He’s big but friendly. Ish.