Today it’s not She Ate the City, but rather a case of “He Ate the City” …on company chumz. I bet you’re jealous
NB//: All expressions and images in this post solely belong to the writer.
Brew Bistro recently opened up a new branch in Westlands. It is on the 11th floor of Fortis tower. Though, when I went there, only one elevator was working. So I had to wait. This was my first time going since they had opened their doors to the public, and if the reviews were anything to go by, the wait would be worth it.
The elevator brings you right to the entrance. Once you get frisked, you walk in and the breezy ambience stretches out its warm hands and embraces you. The wait staff at the entrance are a jolly lot. They have soft smiles and are pleasant. They will show you around, and suggest a suitable place to sit. And should you choose to seat by the balcony, you will get a panoramic view of the city as it spans out. Come here at night and you will see Nairobi come to life. The flickering lights giving it personality. Setting the mood.
The floor is carpeted with plush green grass like material. It has a sporty feel. And being a rooftop restaurant, this gives it an outdoorsy feel setting the pace for your time there. I must admit though, been on the 11th floor it does get a little bit breezy, so you might want to carry along a sweater or a coat. When you walk in you will notice an island bar, well stocked with all your favorite whiskies, vodka, brandy and wines. A cheery bartender that says hello and quick to suggest something. Only I wasn’t there for the drinks, I only had one agenda: the food.
As soon as you take your seat; one of the staff, strategically stationed around the restaurant, will bring out a menu. They have this happy-go-lucky charm about them that’s infectious. They will suggest a few things off the menu mostly their burgers, which are one of the best in Nairobi’s. So is their beer, in case anyone is asking.
At lunch hour, they have a special lunch set menu. They let you have a starter and a main course or pasta, basically a 2-course meal, for only Ksh 1500. Being Nairobi, being a Nairobian, we all know I snatched it up. I didn’t think much about what I’d have; I had preplanned my meal. You see I work for a food delivery company and Brew Bistro is one of our partners. If the company was going to pay for the food I’d have to order something that was deliverable. I asked for the German Potato Pancakes and char grilled filet mignon. For the record, I can’t pronounce mignon. I say minion, like the cartoon. Sneaky guy asked me what drink I’d have. Sneaky because at Brew Bistro, one of (if not the only) finest micro-breweries in Nairobi, they are known for their crisp draught beers. So I got one, just for the kick of it.
Remember the plush green grass like carpeting? Well, the table mats are the same. Though smaller. A few minutes after placing my order, the beer came first. Glass sweating and the froth making for beautiful head. That first sip rolling down my throat like velvet gold. Refreshing. Pro tip: if you’re not really a beer drinker but want to try order their Simpils. They call it the champagne of beers. It’s easy on the tongue and has subtle smooth flavors.
Behind me; the kitchen was been fired up. I could hear the cutlery sing in harmonic unison as they clinked and clanked against each other. The crackling sound of fire as the cookers were starting up. The excited chatter between the chefs. The splashing of water. The crisp sizzling sound of hot oil. It was beautiful. This was the sound of food. Then came the lazy wafts. Slowly escaping the kitchen and finding solace in my nostrils. Assuring me all was well.
Fifteen minutes later, my first course arrived. On a wooden block and covered in white apple sour cream sauce. I know because I asked. At first I thought it was some type of cheese. The food was garnished with mint leaves. At first, it looked too pretty to eat so I took photos. The scents emanating from it were heavenly. It was a blend of freshly cooked dough and sweet apple infusions. This was the German Potato Pancakes. It was time to dive in. My fork eased its way into the pancakes’ soft flesh. As I leaned in to get my first mouthful, the gentle heat of the freshly cut pancake caressed my cheek. A soft slap. Vengeance for the cut perhaps.
In my mouth it was nothing like I had expected. The pancake was a delightful crusty on the out and deliciously soft on the inside. The mashed potatoes had probably been blended with some spice. I didn’t ask. But the flavors were not too strong and did not compete. I could savor the fullness of each of the ingredients including the sour cream and the sweet tanginess of the sliced green apples. I took my time with the meal. Let my taste buds enjoy the music that was the exciting flavors, in a slow tango. But, like all good things, it had to come to an end. It was time for my next course; the chargrilled filet mignon. Still can’t pronounce that word.
Quick Tip: When you order the steak/burger at brew they will ask you about temperature. This basically means how done you’d like it. I go for medium rare sometimes medium to well but never well done. Something about well-done steaks that dries it out.
The steak arrived with a side of mashed potatoes. The mashed potatoes were garnished in some spice and were served on both sides of the steak. It kind of felt like they were escorting it. Taking it to the aisle. Where my mouth and its flavors would marry in delectable matrimony. The steak was wrapped in a blanket of crispy bacon. It didn’t look like much and I had my reservations. Well, that was until I dug in and half way thought I had bit off more than I could chew. Needless to say, it was filling. The bacon added an interesting smoky flavor to the steak. The steak itself was soft and sort of melted away in your mouth. The sauces were full of flavor and balanced out the tanginess of the sour cream that came with the pancakes. The food was hot and from the way they sat on my palette you could tell it was fresh.
For the sake of the read, they sat gingerly. Like they were ready to spring into action should the need arise. That’s how you know food is fresh. Re-heated food is always tired. Sits on your palette with a sigh. If need arise it will not get up. It will not excite the crowd that is your buds. It is a show without a curtain raiser. A show without a hype man. A show with a washed up artiste with no zeal for the art.
All this was washed down by the beer.
If you’re looking for a place to visit. With ambience, good food and better drinks (their cocktails too are to die for – but don’t take my word for it. Go see for yourself) Brew Bistro Westlands should be a good start.
Until my next culinary journey.