When it comes to coffee shops, cafes and espresso bars, the focus–as it should be–is usually placed on the quality of the beans and the craft of the baristas, but there are instances when coffee takes second seat to atmosphere.
While Starbucks and other coffee companies are trying to colonize urban centers around the world with new shops, coffee culture itself has gone beyond the straightly designed hang-outs of the famous chains. In a saturated market like coffee, owners and designers have the task of creating a unique atmosphere that is at the same time fresh and clever yet includes comforting nods to an understanding of the evolving coffee culture.
We all know about the book stores that have a coffee bar inside, but relatively new is this coffee house in town-yes Nairobi town- that has incorporated a bit of a twist to its cuisine with swanky Teppanyaki tables for its guests.
The Yummy team was recently invited to sample the Urban Grind, located at the Highway Mall just off the Bunyala round-about. Relatively new, i know most people who rarely venture those sides will believe that the building does actually exist. Fortunately, its location is quite convenient, with ample parking space and bearable minutes away from Nairobi’s migraine-causing traffic jams.
Anyway, the experience at Urban Grind was quite refreshing. The restaurant whose cuisine is mostly centred on continental and bistro style kind of mix is located downstairs, away from prying eyes and busy weekend shoppers. This makes it a unique place for informal business meetings or even a quiet lunch/dinner catch-up. I find that most coffee houses in town are very noisy and most of the time privacy is usually compromised.
The food. That’s important. I had a go at their vanilla-strawberry milkshake which if i remember well, tasted like ‘liquid ice-cream’. Delicious, chilled and straight to the point. Loved it.
The owner, Mr.Wilfred Mwangi insisted we must try the Teppanyaki menu which was the main attraction for the barely 3 week outlet. (Teppanyaki is a fancy table where you can watch as the chef live-cooks your meal and serves you steaming hot from the ‘jiko’) We obliged and never regretted. Don’t get me wrong, this is not your ‘usual’ and traditional themed Asian Teppanyaki, rather a menu that has been customized to the Kenyan palette. And we know how safe the Kenyan palette is. So yes, there is no octopus or squid. Instead, diners can pick from a friendly selection of Vegetarian, Carnivore and Seafood Teppanyaki. The portions were quite good and i can assure you of a hearty session. Its definitely fantastic for large groups celebrating a special occasion or just looking for a extraordinary experience.
Besides that, enjoy fresh juices, sandwiches, combo breakfasts, wraps, tapas menu, salads, cakes and special dishes at competitive prices. They also have a kiddie menu that is sure to get the whole family sorted out any day of the week.