My Writing/Reading Spots: Noir Gallery

I’ve been driving past this place almost every day without noticing that the sign has changed from Serenity Spa to Noir Gallery. So I decided to pop in and see what they have.

I had never seen the fountain in full function with the previous place and it was so refreshing to see it alive, it adds so much more life to the centre of the building. A short passage leads to the indoor lounge area, cosy and warm with wooden tones and comfortable grey chairs.

As soon as you step out onto the terrace the view takes your breath away. A stretch of grass, majestic trees, and the freshness of nature greet you. I love how, unlike most restaurants with gardens, they chose not to disturb the garden. The outdoor seating is organised right at the back on the concrete and the trees and plants have been left in peace.

When sitting at the back in a cosy and breezy area, you have a view of the building (house). Slightly uphill, the impressive house peeks behind some of the plants and trees, adding to the overall aesthetic.

From the one meal I had (it’s actually a sandwich, not a burger), the food is good. The only thing I’d fault is the slightly over-toasting of the bread. However, the flavours were there and the meal was a generous portion, I couldn’t finish.

It’s also child-friendly, with the open grass for them to play and run around, and they include a kids’ menu.

The bar is also set up pretty well. Outside in the fresh air, what better way to enjoy your cocktails?

I’m obsessed with large garden venues and this one wins for me. It was the perfect place for a quiet time to read and enjoy my own company. It’s so serene and soothing though, with my full belly, that at some point I was so soothed I started falling asleep.

The “Gallery” part? They’ve been open for less than a month and while the restaurant is set up and operating, they’re finishing up the gallery upstairs. I can’t wait!

Noir Gallery, Muthangari Drive, Westlands, Nairobi.

IG: @noirgallery.ke

My Writing/Reading Spots: The Arbor

“I said, but I have to go, there are so many places calling my name.”
― Nikki Rowe

Right next to James Gichuru, yet it feels so far from it.

It’s hard to imagine anywhere close to Waiyaki Way being described as tranquil. Yet, just behind the forever busy highway, on the corner of the quiet Manyani E Road, is a tranquil restaurant. The Arbor, which recently moved from James Gichuru to its current place, is better, more open, and spaced out.

The entrance is marked by Aromatics Spa, and as you walk further down you find yourself surrounded by high, large trees and enwrapping peace. They now have a bar, which they didn’t have at the old place and around it is indoor seating, which is also new.

Bar and indoor seating

There’s a little play area for kids and you can sit close-by where you can keep an eye on them. Far down is an abundance of more trees and a spectacular view of Nairobi’s burst of greenery. A sunny day doesn’t go to waste here. You can enjoy a lovely meal and enjoy a breeze under the trees or kiss from the sun.

Yumsies

You can sit quietly by yourself and enjoy a cup of coffee, read or work. You can also get together with friends for a celebration, work meeting, whatever the occasion. The setting is organised well enough to give each table its privacy.

It’s pleasant, relaxing and a cool little place to escape to for some bit of calm.

The Arbor/Arbor Place, Aromatics Spa, 101 Manyani E Road, Nairobi

IG: @thearborltd

My Writing/Reading Spots: The Library

“The simple act of sitting here sipping this cappuccino is its own testament to my commitment to living the writer’s life. Which is to say: doing nothing but doing it exceedingly well.”
― Sol Luckman, Beginner’s Luke

The Library booth

Since Covid, I haven’t been going out to write, or pretend to write, in cafés and restaurants as often as I used to. Now, I go once or twice a week. Nairobi has some great spots in malls and some hidden gems in residential areas.

I decided to go to Sarit today, the aim was to go to this small, coffee shop. Just on the next level at the food court, these gorgeous black and orange chairs caught my eye. I had to go see, you’d never know where the inspiration to zhoosh up your place will come from. Then, I discovered this new spot that’s less than a month old – The Library.

The Library

The booths caught my eye, social-distancing style, one could say.

The orange and black chairs, and the booths.

They got this tiny space and used it so well to create this charming place with soft music and a laid-back ambiance. When you go upstairs you find that it does live up to its name. There’s a large bookshelf with some interesting titles, a cosy sitting area and a place suitable for working.

The Library’s Bookshelf

They really put some creative thought into it.

The menu and bill box designs:

Menu and bill box.

Even the names of some of the items on the menu – I had The Novel, a satisfying cucumber, mint, and orange juice. The food is pleasant, my vegetarian smashed avocado sandwich was filling and tasty. My friend had chicken wings with shoestring chips, and I’m guessing from the clean bones left on her plate that the dish went well.

It’s also placed on the best level of Sarit, an open, airy and light space with trees and fresh air, you can easily forget that you’re in a mall.

I’m definitely adding it to my list of coffices, to work, or simply enjoy coffee with one of their books.

Where: The Library, Sarit Centre (Nairobi), 2nd Floor