I'm not usualy the type of person to write about a place unless it leaves a big impression on me. Zaytoon is one of these place's!
My friends and I had just one night in Nairobi before heading to the coast and were looking for somewhere to have dinner and chill out after our flight and a rarther unplesant three hours in traffic getting from the airport to our hotel.
We had been directed to Zaytoon by our taxi drver who had gone to great lengths to promote the restaurant and the fact that he had had a long relationship with the owners, driving them to and fro.
Taking the advice of John (the taxi driver) we had him drop us at the restaurant around 8:30pm. To begin with this was a touch disconcerting as he dropped us at entrance of a tower block, however, sure enough there was a sign board, if not a little small it was there. After confirmation and a swift wanding by the security guard we made our way via what I can only describe as an arcade of sorts around to the back of the building and there was Zaytoon.
The first thing you notice about Zaytoon is the open kitchen and the amazing smells emanating from the various pots and pans on the go.
The decor is easy on the eye, nice clean lines, high celling with a warm paint scheme. Wonderfully enough the artwork that hangs from the walls is up for sale, all produced by local artists, I was told that the idea was to let the artisits have the space for free a month at a time, as and when something was sold then a small percentage would be taken by the resataurant.
The seating inside is limited to sixteen due to the size of the restaurant but the patio more than makes up for lack of seats inside. As we stepped out the patio seemed to go on for ever. All of the outside space has been covered to provide shelter from the elements, be it rain or shine.
We found ourselves a table towards the far end of the patio, which seemed to have more comfortable seating. The menu's left a little to be desired, however, the contents and the fantasticly tasty dishes that followed more than made up for them.
As I recollect we had the Lamb tagine with a mint and mango couscous, Brazilian fish stew with polenta and the Parrot fish & linguini with herb and tomato dressing. All of which where a taste sensation, truthfully, I could not pick a winner among them. Every dish had it's own distinctive and beautifully balanced flavours.
After dinner we decided to have a sisha pipe, this would be my first time trying shisha. We shared a bottle between three of us. Given the amazing food that we had just eaten and the southen Mediterranean/ north african decor the shisha seemed to just fit right in, not something I would have thought of before.
Service was average, yet friendly, which made up for a slight mix up on the drinks order. Once we recieved or beverages we where most impressed with the fresh juices, especially the water melon and pineapple.
The fact that Zaytoon does not serve alcohol was not a problem to our group, however I could see it being a little offputting for some, there's always the shisha... Seems I could be a convert.
The menu pricing seemed to be extremely reasonable, with non of our dishs exciding 600ksh and the shisha was around the 1000ksh mark.
If I am ever back in Nairobi I will be definitely be visiting Zaytoon again.