Honey and Dough: Nairobi’s Trendy Gourmet Café

Towards the end of last year I featured INTI in this column – the new restaurant at the top of One Africa Place specialising in a unique fusion of Japanese and Peruvian cuisine. What I didn’t mention was the fact that INTI forms part of a collection of restaurants in Nairobi owned by a local investment firm called Jit Group, under a venture called The Food Library.

The other restaurants in their collection are Mercado, Honey and Dough, and The Mirror (which is more of a banquet and conference facility). Mercado, as well as Fonda NBO in Rosslyn Riviera Mall, were late but very welcome products of the global Mexican food wave.

Honey and Dough is also an offshoot of current trends: the increasing popularity of veganism, and the unsourceable fashion of decorating everything with images of flamingos. Mind you, these are both trends that I’m happy to get behind.

I’ve seen the restaurant’s funky décor suitably described elsewhere as ‘Instagrammable’. True to the flamingo fashion, there are plenty of shades of pink, in the chairs and in the tropical tiled murals. These blend well with the green of scattered potted plants, and the natural wood finish of the tables and the hanging hexagonal light fixtures.

The interior is particularly eye-catching in the terrace section of the restaurant, with its long curved bar and cosy seating areas beneath tall wicker teepees. From its vantage point on the seventh floor of One Africa Building, too, there are great views out towards Riverside and Westlands. Blinds drop down in the evenings so the views are obscured, but they help to keep the cold out.

The Honey and Dough website describes the restaurant as a ‘modern gourmet café with delicious healthy, multi-cuisine food’. The menu is very broad, with plenty of all-day breakfast options, and traditional burgers, pizzas, paninis and wraps.

But what really stands out is the variety of creative vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free dishes. Whereas these options often feel like a token afterthought in many restaurants, they are front and centre of Honey and Dough’s menu, and I found that very refreshing.

I’ll give you a few examples. For breakfast you can have vegan pancakes, with cashew vanilla cream, red berries and maple syrup. Amongst the main courses is a selection of ‘Buddha Bowls’, including the Quinoa Adzuki Bean Bowl – adzuki beans, leeks, rosemary portobello, white quinoa, thyme and a parmesan crust. There are some inventive pizzas, too, such as the Quinoa Pizza, with quinoa dough, pomodoro sauce, cashew cheese, red peppers, mushrooms and olives.

My wife and I opted for a couple of the veggie burgers, ‘The Classic’ and ‘The Latin’. Our waiter, Hudson, was happy to take custom requests, like a fried egg on my burger, and delicious sweet potato and truffle fries.

The options aren’t limited for meat-eaters, too, with a wide variety of chicken, beef, pork and fish dishes on the menu. There are classic grills and hearty curries, including a top sirloin steak, marinated in a herbed dressing and topped with grilled onions and jalapeños, and a red curry prawn masala with lemon rice.

By the entrance of the restaurant is the ‘Grab and Dough Bar’, which serves a selection of pastries, smoothies and hot drinks. The main bar offers a range of cocktails, especially gin-based cocktails, and non-alcoholic mocktails. So the terrace is also a great place to enjoy a few sundowners before a night out in Westlands.

To find out more about the restaurant, and the others in The Food Library collection, head to www.thefoodlibrary.co.ke. If you fancy swinging by for a quick breakfast, they’re currently running a pastry and coffee offer for Ksh 350, and on Valentine’s Day they’ll have a live band performance.

Published in Kenya’s Sunday Nation

Photo credit: The Food Library