We were seated outside a garden, admiring the architecture of Shamba Cafe, when one of us said: “Why is it that only white folks can build something like this? Why can’t we do something like this that’s not extravagant and uncreative?”
He was referring to the architecture of Shamba Cafe and Shop in Nairobi’s Loresho Ridge. It’s a barn on steroids. The lawn that has tables is massive and well kept. Beyond are sprawling farms. It has a farm shop and a garden center.
“What makes you think this belongs to a white person?,” another friend, sipping a Bila Shaka beer chimed in. “You are what’s wrong with black people.” So started a massive debate. I secretly thought it was at least, designed by a white person, I mean, come on, a barn? A farm shop? “If it was a black chap,” one guy said, “they would have built a real traditional building here, not this...this..”
“Barn?” Someone said, to laughter.
The Shamba is a chill place. You should go if you haven’t. It’s a place you want to spread a Maasai shuka on the grass and pop a bottle of wine.
It is family, friend, and dog friendly too. The service was impressive, the waiters switched on and helpful even though they were overwhelmed by the bewildered Covid-19 herd that had finally come out for some sun and human company. Have their steaks or roasted spring chicken, have anything, it will be good.
To settle the debate, we called the number on the website.
“We have five owners,” the voice on the other side said.
“Are they white?,” we asked. “White? they asked, a bit surprised at the forwardness. The voice said, “Yes, Americans.” This broke our hearts a bit. Two guys lost the bet and had to grumpily buy everybody a round of their drink.