I read almost anything. Tweets, the witty ones, not the ones laced with vitriol, menus, they have a way of evoking vivid imagery of food and just about any genre of either fiction or non-fiction work.
You will find me poring over an autobiographical tome and enjoying it just as much as you might find me laughing my head off at a silly regency romance or a poorly crafted whodunit mystery novel. Now, you can imagine how elated I was to find a cafe that has a fully stocked library, where there are reading pods, innumerable charging ports and pots of coffee and cocktails affordable enough to keep your thirst for knowledge and caffeine at bay. The place is imaginatively called ‘The Library’ and is located in the New Wing at Sarit Centre. The interior designer at the cafe outdid themselves with beautiful light fixtures enlivening the space, while bold dashes of colour and large floor to ceiling glass windows create the illusion of space. On one wall, there is a large African map with several book spines embossed in the middle as if to speak of the growing reading culture, not just in Kenya, but across Africa. That is exactly the people that The Library intends to feed, both intellectually and palate wise.
My friend and I choose to sit outside and people watch, I can always return and cozy up with a book in the reading pods upstairs, a great idea for a solo date. Chef Frederik Olesen, the head chef at the outfit is a gracious host. He runs us through the menu items and the menu creation process. He talks of the need to do great dishes while leveraging his multiple culinary skills, which he has acquired in the 17 years that he has worked as a chef. European and Asian influences are evident in the various dishes he makes. So as per the chef’s recommendation, we start off with Vada pav sliders, an Indian starter that comes beautifully plated and garnished with tasty green peppers. The patty is vegetarian as it is made from mashed potatoes and spices and tastes better than a meat addict like me would expect. Next comes the teriyaki chicken bowl.
Awakens taste buds The portion is large and filling with a surfeit of greens and meat. The chicken is grilled and skewered alongside delicious leeks. They also have pasta and pizza made fresh on order. We do not taste this, but we have to leave something out for a subsequent visit, right? Besides, we have to leave room for dessert.
I have a huge chocolate brownie served with a side of vanilla ice cream and artful swirls of chocolate drizzle. Each mouthful awakens your taste buds with beautiful contrasts of textures and taste as the crunchy nuts in the brownie add yet another layer of flavour to the otherwise sweet dish. I have a cup of kulad tea, which comes with a token piece of a savoury sweet. My friend has a hot chocolate, which she waxes lyrical about. The bill comes in a beautiful box shaped like a book. Even the menu itself looks like a book complete with a binding spiral. I peruse through the menu and learn that you can also create your own tea by choosing the milk you like, sugar and any additional flavours that you might like to add ranging from cinnamon to hazelnut. If you are into coffee, there is plenty of that in its variable brews to choose from. But if you are anti-caffeine, a milk shake, a smoothie, a lassi or The Novel, a cucumber mint and orange juice will definitely do. I decide that reading this menu definitely counts as an edifying read. But maybe I will come back for another . visit and give Barrack Obama’s Promised Land that I spot upstairs a go.
Reading it while getting another kulad tea is a dream that will keep me going for the next few days before my next visit.
By NAILANTEI NORARI