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Soul food at Craves Kitchen

The restaurant is quite artistic; kiondos placed on walls and a few paintings hanging from others that later go on sale once a month

Chebet Korir @Chebetkorir

Thomas Ng’ang’a is the creative director behind Craves Kitchen. One day a year ago, he made the decision to leave his head chef job abroad and follow his passion of opening his own restaurant near his home town, Kikuyu, where he was born and raised. When his restaurant’s name came up for review, we were quite doubtful at first.

Why drive all the way to Kikuyu town just for food? On arrival, the first thing that captured our attention was the entrance to the restaurant: Colourful pots of flowers and boards that looked quite inviting.

That was a plus for me. The place was a bit full but we found that the owner had reserved two seats for us. How the space of a former club had been turned into a modern yet unpretentious kitchen was a shocker.

The place is quite artistic; kiondos displaced on the walls, a few paintings hang on walls but which go on sale after every month. Old newspapers are arranged in one corner. Simply told, the place has a modern yet ancient décor. Food was our main agenda and it played out well.

There is something about the hearty food at Craves Kitchen that makes it truly stand out. It’s like soul food, where everything is crafted carefully from the presentation.

Meat is prepared from a live kitchen and the ingredients are nothing short of stunning. Interestingly, their food menu varies on different days and is displaced on a board.

This is the only way you can order: there are no food menus here. Starter Ladies take the orders here and I was glad to see how welcoming and interacting they were.

We kicked off with a hearty, white bean soup that comes with bacon, avocado and a bread toast. It was so tasty that I had to order another plate — at only Sh150 a serving. All this time, jazz music played in the background, making us feel relaxed and right at home.

We chose a delightfully fresh chicken breast served with French fries. It had the perfect amount of bite, with rich chicken skin cracklings as light as popcorn. It was well cooked and hot, not to mention the greens— a mixture of spinach, cucumber, carrots and cabbages- that I found heavenly.

At only Sh450, we found a good bargain here. Desert I opted for the cheesecake, which was spongy and fresh. I had to inquire about the bakery, however, to which Thomas said he prebakes all the cakes and pies at night and takes orders at the same time. This cost Sh250.

Run by a group of four, well-trained chefs the kitchen here tends to be quite busy. I was surprised to learn that none of the experts have been to culinary school; they have all acquired cooking skills at Craves kitchen. Motivating right?

Tom explains that he was quite surprised how they got so much attention at such a quite short time. Guests were strolling in one by one, the old and the young.

Well, I would most definitely recommend the place to my Grandma and small sister because they attract such. This for sure was memorable and would make a second return.

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