Nairobi Notebook

Jackson Biko is our man about the town. 

GoingOutThe greengrocers Zucchini, at ABC Place, have moved from their previous shop to the new building opposite. In its place, right at the nose of Java, is the 360 Degrees Artisan Pizza. It’s a Neapolitan-style pizza joint that seeks to offer a ‘casual dining’, experience. According to sources, they brought in one Matt Lyons from San Diego, a 25-year-old pizza maker of credible repute to train the staff and get it up and running. They opened shop late September last year.

Its aesthetic mood might remind you of ArtCaffe’s, which is perhaps something Java might not want to hear (if the whispers from one of the waiters that Java is one of the owners is anything to go by). I took the family for lunch there the day my daughter graduated from kindergarten. Unfortunately, she wasn’t moved. (Girls can be so hard to impress at times!) However, the missus liked the fact that the base was perfect and the toppings were of great quality. Personally, I remember their house wine fondly. (Tel: 0719 279 412)

Still on things continental – check out La Bonne Bouche Restaurant, the new French spoon that opened recently at Nairobi Upper Hill Hotel. Built in a safari-tented fashion, it’s where bush meets bourgeois in the city. It will make sense when you visit them. Go for dinner, not lunch – that way you will get the full benefit of its ambience. (Tel: +254 417 148)

If there ever was an indicator that the art scene of Nairobi is on the rise it’s the recent event that was a first for Kenya. The first commercial auction of East African Art was held at the Kempinski Hotel, Nairobi. Like all art dos this was marked by abundant champagne, but not just any old tipple – but GH Mumm, the official champagne of Formula 1. The event, organised by The Circle Art Agency (www.circleartagency.com), featured works of Kenyan artists, which dominated the auction, but also artists from Ethiopia, Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda. Prices ranged from several hundred dollars to more than U$28,000.

In the month of November 2013, Kenya Breweries Ltd organised a Whisky Festival where selected bars were earmarked for whisky tasting events. The whisky-flu has been blowing into Nairobi for a while now, and this shift in consumer preference has seen various establishments positioning themselves as whisky haunts by stocking premium brands for the discerning drinker. If you are in town and are looking for a decent place to have your wee drappie then try out Explorer Tavern in Lavington (Tel: 0735858787). They have introduced a ‘Whisky of the Week’ theme when they sell a specific brand of single malt at a shaved-off price. It’s a steal. Also check out Caribana Bar on Lenana Road: they will hardly disappoint when it comes to whisky. (Tel: 0735 551066, 0729 996333 www.caribanabar.com).