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: Lava Latte

Art, serenity and tasty food.

Snuggled cosily on the quiet State House Road is the friendly, colourful, and tranquil Lava Latte. A laid-back coffee shop with an unhurried vibe, delicious food, and eclectic surroundings. The style draws you in, playful and bright, with a mix of red and white chairs, yellow walls, bookshelves, plants, and wall art from local artists.

Playful decor

It has different seating areas – different rooms with mixes of patterns and textures and outside with a serene and enchanting ambiance.

Quiet nook.

When it was time for us to leave, after four (or more) hours we realised we had neither asked about Wi-Fi nor constantly checked our phones. Our phones were out only for capturing the different cool features of the place. It’s the kind of place that makes you forget about everything else.

We ordered paninis with potato wedges. Yes, please, I’ll be back for more. The taste was just exquisite and the portions were filling. The bursting flavours in such simple meals were impressive and delightful.

They have small shelves on the different parts of the room, with authors like Jo Nesbø, James Patterson, Jeffrey Archer, and Andrzej Sapkowski. This creative space has a flow of art all around, from the raw walls, the floral bar, the pictures, the hanging art, to the furnishing and the graffiti outside.  

It’s a perfect place to be if you want some quiet time, a space to boost your creativity as you work, and just to have a tasty meal with good coffee.

Check it out:

209 Statehouse Road,
Nairobi,
Kenya