There’s a new kid on the restaurant block in Nairobi. Nyama Mama Express, at Yaya Centre in Hurlingham. Any guesses what they specialize in? You guessed it! Local Kenyan foods. Think kibanda foods with a novel bourgeois twist: chapati quesadillas, ugali chips, samosas and chutney, halloumi and sukuma wiki… It’s such an experience, and to me, the best place to take a friend visiting Kenya to try local foods. Of course, nothing beats your local kibanda, but this is an elevated experience.
Located at Yaya Centre’s food hub, there’s not much of an ambience offering. Basic tables, doused in warm lighting and some walls featuring African-inspired doodles. It is not the place to go if you’re looking for something romantic. It is however alright for a quick lunch meeting or some sundowners.
Food and Drinks
We ordered chapati beef quesadillas, a falafel with hummus and pilau, and coconut fish stew of the day with a side of mukimo. I must say that the chapati quesadillas are a must-have for any visitor. The cheese and tender beef complimented each other beautifully. They were soooooooo good. Just as good as tortilla quesadillas; dare I say, better!
They could be more free-handed with their guacamole servings though, and I did find it a little strange that they served their falafel with pilau or mukimo. It was a curious pairing.
I had a glass of their Afrobeet juice (beetroot, mango and passion fruit) as well as a mocktail. I had the Lion’s Share (Johnnie Walker Black Label Scotch, Martini Rosso, pomegranate, fresh ginger, lime and watermelon) and I requested to have it virgin. My friend had the Blue Mount (Chilli infused Don Julio tequila, sparkling wine, fresh pineapple, Aperol and lime). The cocktails were refreshing, creative and fun.
The menu features healthy local foods supposed to remind you of mama’s home-cooking. There is a Mexican twist and there are some Mediterranean vibes in there too, e.g. their falafel. There’s everything from small dishes like samosas and chicken wings to soups and salads.
Their wines list is pretty basic, but they have 4 innovative cocktails served in an rustic metal mug.
Simon and Calvin were really kind and attentive. Simon was a really good sport and even featured in my vlog. Food was timely and they advised us on different menu items.
Pricing and value for money
The prices are great. A main meal goes for 750-1000 KES. The portions are generous; the falafel especially. My friend and I were stuffed within minutes, but were determined to conquer the food quest. So we sat around chatting for hours as we let our food settle before attempting to clear our plates, and failing. So we packed a doggy bag. I don’t remember how much our total bill came to, but it was less than KES 4000.
Have you tried Nyama Mama Express? How did you like it?
Lots of love.