Some cool urban ballsy youngsters opened a coffee shop right opposite the State House in Nairobi. They took over an abandoned space at 209 State House Road, a former school and they started a hole in the wall. It’s a coffee shop from far but closer it turns into a restaurant and when you get comfortable it’s a bar. It’s something for everyone.
It’s also a place where the artsy, carefree youth will converge to hang out, listen to some music (African pop, the last I was there) and be the cool people they are. It’s a space that says, “this is our moment, we are doing the things we love with the people we admire.”
First time I went that was a Saturday, lured by their legend of their food. I found a birthday party going on with fancy hairstyles, trendy clothes and a fearless mood. That not being my cup of tea I retreated. They have a deejay on Saturdays (hip-hop) and a deejay on Friday who plays House music. The crowd is young, as you would expect so you might feel out of place if you want to listen to LL Cool J. They have cocktails and Balateur breweries like Bila Shaka Beers.
I went back on a day that I was sure I’d not find a crowd; a Sunday night. We were the only ones. The music was just right, the food was amazing (there are great paninis) and washed did down with a cocktail and a fresh mint tea. It was a perfect night. The air smelled of fresh flowers and we sat outside in metallic chairs (I’m sure they will change that) and later the chef, James, came.
Because when you eat great food you want to shake the chef’s hand.
Lava Latte is still work in progress but they had nailed down the essentials; location, food and vibe. There is an underlying statement going on there; that dreams are nothing if they stay in your head.