‘The Hosts’ stemmed from the need to create informal, homely food experiences that many a time gets lost in the hustle and bustle of a restaurant. As ‘The Hosts’ we are built of three parts: Raechelle as the home chef and food nerd, Gautham as the man behind the bar and our constant ally, our dog Doobie who is responsible for the in house entertainment and special pedicures aka licking your feet.
Both of us have been obvious foodies all our life, but one thing we always found missing was an underrepresented variety of Indian food. We started The Hosts as an endeavour to not just bring people to our home and provide them with great hospitality (that we love doing anyway), but to also be able to get people to experience a version of Indian cooking that seems to be unheard of in most parts outside of India but has had a great impact in our lives.
Many chefs open a pop-up restaurant as a way to showcase their talents to a wider audience. For us on the other hand, it offers an opportunity to create a completely unique experience. One that we believe is a lot more informal, personal and very much us. In our pop-ups, we bring our personality along with our love for food on the plate and that is what we believe our guests will find unique.
The first chapter of The Hosts in Nairobi was a tribute to Goan food, a not so common cuisine significantly influenced by the Portuguese. Goa is a coastal state in the South of India and was a Portuguese colony for around 450 years. This long reign allowed the Portuguese to bring an enormous treasure in the form of their cuisine and the locals of Goa took it up and created magic with it. As a couple made up of one Canadian – Goan and an honorary Goan (at least we’d like to think so), this food has had a huge impact on us growing up. Our collective memories involve spending time in Goa eating choriz pao (a local pork sausage sandwich), going crab hunting and cooking them with family, enjoying a Cashew Feni (a cocktail made up of cashew liquor from Goa) by the beach or on a hill; basically, just a whole lot of delicious food. When most people think of Indian food outside India, they somehow manage to miss the fact that a variety of meats plays a critical role in our diet, and Goan cuisine offers a fantastic breadth of meats and seafood that is usually skipped in favour of other dishes.
It is with all this magic in hand that we dished out the first chapter of The Hosts with some fantastic dishes covering some of the most famous and loved Indian dishes, from vindaloo to sannas and an array of meats covering beef, pork, chicken, fish & prawns. We also included a Cafreal in the menu, which very interestingly has its roots from Africa. This topped up with some cashew feni sourced directly from Goa did more than just hit the spot.
Did we forget to mention our coconut and mint welcome mocktail? It was the perfect way to introduce cuisine from a country that is hugged by the Arabian Sea and is known for its beaches. We finished off a very filled and satisfying meal with a simple dessert that featured sawdust (made of biscuits) and liquor chocolate which all our guests bit into with enthusiasm.
We were able to create a vibe that represented who we are. It was warm, lively and hearty. A little piece of Goa under the hot Nairobi sun. With our first successful pop-up, we are looking forward to introducing more Goan delicacies and adding onto the rich food culture that Nairobi already offers.