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A taste of Mogadishu cuisine at Al Yusra

Faith Kyoumukama @martkinel

I am full of food as I write this piece. I just had a meal of tasty biryani and delightful boneless chicken curry for lunch! To top it all of, there was a drink and dessert, which I will tell you about shortly.

Have you ever eaten a heavy lunch only to crave for a nap or just a relaxed afternoon? Many of us would wish to relax after a good lunch, but unfortunately, work has to be done. Somali restaurants in Nairobi are always packed full as customers keep streaming in. Why? I will tell you three things— affordability, service and man (not baby) portions. Most of these restaurants tick all these boxes.

One example is Al Yusra restaurant in the Nairobi CBD. Located on Banda Street, the restaurant has been in existence for the past 11 years, which you probably already know. I sampled a few items in their menu and I must say I enjoyed myself.

One thing you notice when you get to Al Yusra is the customer service. They make sure you get a seat quickly and that you are attended to immediately. Customer service is one thing that can make or break a restaurant.

A table was reserved for us at the Ladies and Family section on the balcony since we had made a booking earlier. They have two sitting areas, one for the ladies and families and the other a free-for-all section.

According to Muslim faith etiquette, men and women should not mix in public unless they are related. I ordered a cold Hyderabad shake— a mix of mango and banana fruit juice with some grounded nuts.

Pilau and fish curry at Al-Yusra restaurant in Nairobi CBD. Photo/ROGERS NDEGWA

It tasted just like any milk shake, only better because of the toppings. The chicken curry was buttery and bold, adding depth to the biryani. One of my friends chose fish curry with pilau, while the other had mushroom pepper steak and white rice.

Obviously— not that I love all the food but tasting everything is part of my job— I sampled all dishes and everything was amazingly tasty. I liked how they infused mushroom with steak.

I’m not a fan of fish but I would have that curry any day. We also had an assortment of fruits with ice cream and nut toppings. The food was filling and the portions satisfying; it’s the kind of eatery you leave feeling like you got value for your money.

If you have had enough of the fast food and you are craving like real healthy food, this might be the place for you. Their menu has Somalia, Ethiopian and Swahili dishes. They also have different types of fresh juices pizza, and snacks. On Friday they have a buy one-get-one free pizza offer. Available in the menu is camel milk and meat, which I was told, is a popular dish in the restaurant.

I will try it out the next time. You can also have a family feast at Al Yusra during the festive season. For Sh2,900, you get four plates of Swahili pilau, a whole chicken cooked to your preference and four juices of your choice.

Is it possible to get it delivered to your doorstep? The answer is yes; they do outside catering. So you don’t have to get to town to indulge. Simply dial their number, place an order and enjoy the meal from the comfort of your home or workplace.

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