Shawarma meals are Big Knife's greatest selling point

Monday April 18 2022
Big Knife restaurant on Monrovia Street, Nairobi.

The inside dining space at Big Knife restaurant on Monrovia Street, Nairobi central business district. PHOTO | COURTESY


Lunch in the central business district of Nairobi is a rushed affair.

The main streets are dominated by fast food franchises that offer the normal fare of fried chicken in all its oil and crumbed glory, chips, pizza and everything the doctor warned you about but your body craves.

If you are disciplined enough to resist this, your next option is a hot lunch served by in-house supermarket Delis. But for those with adventurous palates and want to spend a little more, there are niche restaurants serving authentic traditional Turkish, Ethiopian, Somali or Indian food.

On a recent hunt for something beyond the ''normal'' I found myself at the Big Knife on Monrovia Street, off Muindi Mbingu street in Nairobi's central business district.

Big Knife is a franchise that started small, serving Shawarma meals instead of the common wraps as a quick snack. And this is their selling point. Beef and chicken Shawarma is served as a full meal with either rice or chips and a side salad. The portions are generous enough to warrant the Ksh450 ($3.86)  price, and they throw in a free glass of juice. Not freshly made be warned, but juice nevertheless.

I picked the mix beef and chicken shawarma with rice and I did not regret it. The Shawarma was well done, the rice hot and salad crunch.


This particular branch was recently expanded and redone into an open and airy very modern space. The large paned windows overlooking Monrovia Street bring in all the light reducing the beautiful hanging lamps just for decoration. I must however say I have not been here after dark to see all the lights in full shine.

The space is well divided for a small diner, with a wide entrance with the open kitchen on one side and a seating area opposite it. It serves both in-dining clients and those waiting for take-away orders.

The inner sitting space is more formal and calm with muted wall decorations and in-door plants albeit plastic. The wall mirrors give an illusion of space and the tables are spaced in such a way such that they feel private even in this confined space.