Njeri Maina @PeopleDailyKe
We marvel at the courage of a cyclist as he fights for way around the T-Mall roundabout alongside the crazy Nairobi motorists. He joins Mbagathi Road without a scrape as we all wonder why he has to take on cars and matatus without the protection of helmets or kneepads.
We are seated on the fifth floor of South Gen Mall, the new building opposite T-Mall. I am nursing a milk shake and worrying about the ‘daring’ cyclist at Charlie’s Bistro, a newly open restaurant and rave spot.
The milk shake is as good as the rousing welcome we got when we walked in. With glass chandeliers, glass tables and wicker chairs, this place is classy. The balcony overlooks the Nairobi traffic, but has green shrubbery competing for attention with the gleaming balustrade.
There is a well-stocked bar and a mixologists on standby, ready to pour you a drink with a bottle spinning flair. As we wait for our order, we listen to pop music playing in the background.
It is early afternoon and we soon learn that the volume and tempo of music will increase as night approaches. Our dishes arrive. My sister is having grilled chicken and potato wedges with a side of slaw. I had ordered grilled pork chops Mexican style with potato wedges and a side of mango salad.
The dishes are so well presented that despite my hunger pangs, I spend almost a minute taking envy inducing and Instagram worthy stills. The potato wedges are sumptuous coated in buttery tomato goodness.
The potato skin is still intact, adding some contrasting tug-and- bite to the potato softness. My chop is also well done with a charred finish. Despite the chop being too good to look at, I find it a bit too dry for my liking.
The spices are also only on the top layers of the chop rather than permeating it to the core. As for the mango salad, it provides some tartness to balance out the pork umami. It is a new yet delightful experience for my palate, this mango and pork combo. I think my sister’s dish is a lot better than mine.
Her slaw, which only has a whisper of pepper, complements the potato wedges to perfection. I devour most of her chicken as it is both well spiced and well done.
The food portions are quite big as neither of us is able to finish their share. The leftovers are packed for us, in part because the economist’s Bible in me says, Thou Shall Not Leave Leftovers on a Sh1,000 Dinner.
I do not like to leave food on plates as I find it both wasteful and un-African. I order for a long island tea as we wait for the excess food to be packaged. By now, the sky has dimmed and the darkness is slowly setting in.
Cars driving by have put on their head lights and the street lights are on. It is quite a beautiful sight to behold, especially since the honk-happy motorists are sleeping away the Sunday evening.
We later move into the bowels of the restaurant, as we are afraid to catch the July pneumonia. People have been streaming in and the place is almost full. A beautiful gal with a choker nurses her Irish coffee as her loud friend indulges in a smoothie in a jar.
I almost take a swig out of that sumptuous-looking smoothie jar. A disc jockey is busy setting up at the Dj’s booth. I am almost protective of this space especially because it is hard to find a good eating joint on Lang’ata Road.
On my way out, I enquire as to what time they open everyday. Turns out it’s at 9am. Guess who will be stopping here for breakfast on their way to work?