FOOD: Breakfast and burgers in a barn

Saturday August 24 2019

The Shamba Cafe & Shop.

The Shamba Cafe & Shop. PHOTO | KARI MUTU | NMG 

KARI MUTU
By KARI MUTU
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The Shamba Café & Shop, located on the outskirts of Nairobi, is aptly named because it sits among maize fields and coffee plantations.

As soon as you arrive at the Shamba you feel relaxed in the countryside environment. In this rustic setting are two buildings designed like old barns.

A large grey barn serves as the main restaurant. It has a high ceiling from which hang bronze and orange round light fixtures. They brighten up the dark seats and sage-coloured upholstery.

On a recent visit, we took a table on the patio with safari camping chairs.

The late morning was still chilly so the Maasai blankets the restaurant provided were welcome.

In the evenings the gas-fired heaters are lit and the twinkle lights in the garden give the place a whimsical ambience.

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On weekends, brunch is served until 1pm.

Instead of the usual coffee or tea, you can start your breakfast with a Shamba mimosa, Bloody Mary or Espresso Martini cocktail.

I like the eggs—made to your liking—served with spiced breakfast potatoes and sautéed spinach, mushrooms and onions.

Breakfast at the Shamba Cafe & Shop. PHOTO |

Breakfast at the Shamba Cafe & Shop. PHOTO | KARI MUTU | NMG

You can also have a bagel with your choice of eggs, vegetable or salmon.

Lunch and dinner start with a soup of the day, served in a bowl the size of a small tureen.

The pumpkin ginger soup is heart-warming. Also on offer is a Mexican tortilla soup made with tomatoes, avocado and sour cream.

And in keeping with the growing consciousness of food sources, Shamba get all their greens and many vegetables from their own garden centre.

Shamba has a wide selection of international dishes and a mix of local dishes such as ugali fritters, red snapper with a Swahili coconut sauce, a passion fruit tart and kienyeji tea.

If you like meat, I suggest a sirloin steak, grilled beef fillet or herb roasted spring chicken.

The food portions are large. The hamburger had two beef patties in a home-baked bun, and lots of chips on the side.

The sandwiches of chicken, steak and vegetables were served on bagels or sizeable ciabatta bread. And the wines and cocktails options are extensive.

I like thin-crust pizzas and Shamba makes theirs extra-thin. You can create your own pizza from their selection of meat and vegetable toppings.

A separate menu is offered to children, and judging by the speed at which they ate their pizzas and burgers, I can only assume they were tasty.

In between courses I took a walk around the premises. The sofas around the indoor fireplace looked like a nice place to unwind over coffee or drinks.

The barns face a large garden area with old trees, an ideal spot for people with energetic young ones in tow. Children were running around the grounds and playing in the sandy bocce ball court.

The large lawns and various seating areas mean that adults don’t feel crowded out by rowdy youngsters.

Views of the surrounding farms add to the serene green environment.

Shamba often hosts in-house art shows or live bands that adds a vibrancy to the restaurant.

Shamba is open every day: Weekends are busy over lunch and dinner so a table reservation is advisable.

We were there on a Saturday and the organic farmers market was taking place with vendors selling vegetables, condiments, pickles, and fresh herbs from Shamba’s garden centre.

Inside the tomato red barn, the Shamba shop had pastries, homemade granola, their own brand of ravioli, potted plants, kitchen knick knacks and more.

The ice cream served for dessert is delicious and creamy and can be eaten on its own or with a warm chocolate brownie.

Another winner dessert was the Financier, a French almond cake with raspberries and a scoop of ice cream.

We rounded off our meal with boozy coffees, which you can flavour with of Baileys, Amarula or Kahlua liqueur.