I was staying at the Royal Castle Hotel on Moi Avenue. This is the main East/West street in Mombasa and at Digo Road it become Fort Jesus Road, which takes you to the Old Town and Fort. I walked out of the hotel in the morning, made a right and walked to the corner where I turned right on Digo. As I went south, The Holy Ghost Catholic Church was across the street. I went about 200 meters, crossed a small side street and went another 100 meters and on my right was The Coffee Hut (you can easily find this place because it is directly across from the very bright Total Station on the other side of the street).
I was just looking for a cup of coffee so I ducked in and was greeted by the air conditioning, tasteful modern décor and a pleasant staff. This could have been any nice upscale coffee shop back in the States. I spied the pastries and deserts in the case (and ice cream) but was skeptical. In my two weeks in Kenya I had gone into some nice places and had been routinely disappointed by the poor attempts at European and American desserts. But they had a brownie simply called “Nut” and I gave it a try. Yum! Best chocolate treat I had in Kenya. And the coffee was quite good, too!
I looked at the menu and it had a full slate of lunch and dinner choices including Kenyan and “international” dishes (hamburgers, pasta, etc.). That is usually a bad sign when they try to cater to every taste, especially foreigners. I wanted to eat authentic local food, not stuff for tourists. But then I noticed that this busy Coffee Hut was devoid of tourists and expats – except for me they were all locals. And the prices were very reasonable, there was no “tourist mark-up”.
At the end of the day I was back at the Royal Castle getting ready for dinner and I thought, “Why not try The Coffee Hut?”. So I walked back and ordered the grilled fish. It was definitely a modern take on the standard Mombasa fare but it worked – perfectly prepared, full of flavor. And again, not a single white face in the joint besides mine. In other words, this is a local favorite and they are not shilling for tourists here. Pleasant atmosphere, good food, reasonable prices, I would highly recommend it as a place to get a good meal in central Mombasa. And if you are looking for just a treat, their brownies are worth the walk! If you Google “Coffee Hut + Mombasa” you will find their website.
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