“A 5 star restaurant is what you expect when you come here. I want people to have a walk in and out experience without feeling pressure that they would in a hotel,” the head chef, John Maina said. On my way to Syokimau, I wondered why one would invest in such a location. I obviously hadn’t been there in a while. The reason was simple, Syokimau has developed. Office buildings have come up, families have settled and young people have businesses there. Urban Coffee is situated at the Urban Gateway Mall.
Right on first floor at the left corner, there it was. It would be impossible to not notice the well lit restaurant. As I walked in, the brown and cream walls made me feel at home. For someone who is claustrophobic, this was the ideal place for me. Most restaurants nowadays are cramped up even on a normal day, but urban coffee has enough room for everyone. The tranquil environment gave it a classy touch together with the jazz music that played in the background. I gazed around for a minute with a very surprised look. A mall can sometimes be loud with different business affairs going on. I personally prefer not to eat in a mall simply because I can’t enjoy a serene environment. Urban coffee is one of the few restaurants that as I entered I forgot that I was in a mall.
I was impressed with the service. The restaurant is well staffed with young energetic waiters and waitresses. The environment is hospitable to everyone. Nothing is more amusing than when you are offered the WIFI password without begging for it. For the business people as well as the surfing lovers, the definition of fast internet is in this restaurant. I of course made sure that their WIFI was not in vain as I checked out their sockets. If your laptop keeps going off like mine, fear not they have enough sockets next to each seat to host all your gadgets. What I liked mostly was the space between the tables. Ever been to a restaurant where you are trying to read a good book? Or simply enjoy your alone time, but you can hear everyone’s conversation? In urban coffee there are seats placed in booth forms, this is perfect for people who want to have personal conversations. In short, the space allows room for privacy and air.
The real reason for my visit was to review the food at this new restaurant. Everything looked mouthwatering. Originally urban coffee’s menu was more continental. It was known for its pastries and breakfast. The other food was junk food. Personally my reason to go to a restaurant would be to feast on that double burger with fries. I knew it would be a place I would bring my parents as soon as they brought out traditional meals such as ugali, fish and sukuma.
The difference between the old and the new menu was now apparent. To clarify I asked Chef Maina what change their clients would expect. According to him, many traditional meals are often considered boring or rather unappetizing. His motto was to ensure that there would be more meals that even older people would enjoy. Whether you are on a diet or not the menu would fully host you. From the different meals that I tried there were five meals that would find me in Syokimau again.
- Pizza: No one warned me that an amazing pizza would smell as good as an apple pie. It had been a while since I had a sumptuous pizza that did not deny me ham or cheese. It was like heaven in my mouth. For the first time I could taste all the ingredients from a fresh pizza. The tomatoes, spices and the rich sauce that was slightly salty. The crust was also not too thick nor thin, just perfect.
- Chicken lollipop: The first bite I took immediately teased my taste buds. There is nothing better than having a bitter-sweet taste in your mouth that leaves you wanting more.
- Mashed potatoes: I have been to many restaurants both good and bad. Without exaggerating, I must say the best mashed that I have ever had came from urban coffee. It was moist and well salted to perfection. It simply melted in my mouth.
- Club sandwich: On a broke day where my friend and I would want a tasty meal, this is the meal to have. The portion was huge. It is one of those meals that even before eating you know you will not finish. In it there is chicken, ham, cheddar, mayonnaise, bacon and onion. Just remembering this particular meal makes me hungry.
- Black forest cake: When you are done with your main meal, do not forget dessert. I am not a big fan of cakes, mostly because they either have too much sugar or cream. Some are too dry, while others have little or no sugar at all. If it were up to me, I would have a sit down in urban coffee and feast on this cake. The black forest cake was perfect.
Every meal was cooked to perfection. The presentation of the food reminded me of the Tribe Hotel, subtle yet colorful as well as appealing. The best part was the balanced diet idea. Every meal had vegetables, protein and carbohydrate. The meals are also not too pricey with Ksh. 1,100 being the most expensive meal. Most meals are cheaper than that with quality that suits a very fancy hotel.
It is a great place to check out if you work on Mombasa road. Keep in mind they have traditional meals such as Ugandan and Swahili dishes. It is a great stopover for a trip if you need some fuel for your body.