FOOD: J’s offers views, pub style dining

Saturday October 5 2019

The Lasagne al ragu

The Lasagne al ragu with green salad served at J’s Fresh Bar and Kitchen. PHOTO | COURTESY 

KARI MUTU
By KARI MUTU
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Last year, J’s Fresh Bar and Kitchen in Nairobi, Kenya relocated to the top floor of the Landmark Centre in Karen. It has turned out to be a great move for this pub style eatery, which serves a multi-cuisine of grilled meats, pasta and seafood.

It offers spectacular views especially after a long day at work, watching the sun set while sipping J’s signature, rose-coloured Hibiscus margarita cocktail.

It’s a refreshing drink made with tequila, lemon juice and hibiscus honey water. J’s also serves crafted ales and lagers. Drinks on the Sunset Social menu are discounted between 5-7pm and pair well with the shared platters of meat and vegetarian bites.

A few months ago J’s expanded their food and wine selections, and the double-page menu is packed with lots of options.

I recently went for dinner as part of a large group. We were given a long wooden table in the partly covered section. Tall gas lamps were lit to fight the chill.

The restaurant was busy, while the two long bars were occupied by sports enthusiasts who were drinking and watching sports on big screen TVs.

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Some diners, including ours, had young children who had come for an early dinner. There is a children’s menu and the spacious interior allows kids to move around.

We started off with some appetising bruschetta of smashed avocado and cherry tomatoes with a balsamic garlic sauce. Also recommended as warm appetisers are salt and pepper calamari and mushroom soup. The children preferred to snack on French fries while waiting for the main courses.

I ordered the grilled rosemary lamb chops, which were absolutely delicious and tender, served with steamed vegetables and a starch of your choice. The breaded chicken Parmigiana was also good, made with mozzarella cheese, vegetables and a tomato sauce.

Towering burgers were served on wooden platters and they are one of the most popular dishes. With the burger you have the option of the medium, hot or super-hot sauce, and on Tuesdays you get two burgers for the price of one.

I would like to try their uniquely named nyama choma burger made from grilled meat instead of a burger patty, and an ugali bun instead of bread buns. It comes with avocado, arrow root crisps and kachumbari salad.

J’s grilled rosemary lamb chops.

J’s grilled rosemary lamb chops. PHOTO | COURTESY

From the Italian corner I liked the lasagne al ragu for its cheesy white sauce and bolognese filling in between pasta sheets, with a green salad on the side. The children were happy with macaroni and cheese, chicken escalope and mini margherita pizzas.

The portions were filling, but I couldn’t resist warm sticky toffee pudding with butterscotch sauce and a scoop of ice cream for dessert.

I plan to try their daily breakfast, which comes with has the all standard options and scotch eggs with curried mayonnaise, thin sausage or black pudding.

On Sundays, the restaurant is popular with families. Their Sunday roast menu incorporates traditional British favourites of roast beef, roast chicken and lamb chops with all the accompaniments, or a vegetarian roasted cauliflower with pilaf rice. Throughout the evening there was a vibrant ambience. A DJ was playing snappy tunes and a couple of tables were celebrating birthdays and the staff would sing happy birthday to them.

J’s Rooftop restaurant is a nice place for socialising with friends. Their dance floor gets well utilised on Thursday nights when they have a live band. It is open daily from 10am to midnight and they have another branch located in Westlands.