Nove Coffee, Two Rivers Mall: #NairobiBrunch

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The Two Rivers Mall opened with a bang, and with it came the promise for great service delivery from the tenant stores. The one basic thing that a mall must do is ensure that there are enough eateries to cater for the vast clientele.

Clean, airy look
Clean, airy look

Nove Coffee straddles a corner of the mall, sitting opposite the large clothing store LC Waikiki. Strategically placed on the 2nd level, it’s hard to miss the coffee shop. Wide open spaces welcome you, with seating choices for both indoors or outdoors, which is pleasant if the weather is warm.

I got there on an easy Sunday morning, hoping to get a nice brunch and the menu looked promising. With an array of breakfasts, side dishes, main meals and desserts, I was hungry and so were those in my company. We got seated quickly, opting to sit outside to enjoy the sunshine and fresh breeze.

The café is large and airy – well planned. It feels like a hybrid of a Java House Café and an Art Caffe. You’re greeted at the entrance with a large antique coffee grinder – I wondered if it still worked. The furniture has clean lines, with lots of wood and clean spaces around, and with excellent lighting. You can see through their top-to-bottom windows and enjoy the outdoor view.

Baked goods always catch my eye
Baked goods always catch my eye

A wide array of pastries greets you at the counter, and you can sometimes catch the whiff of something freshly baked, which is enticing. Coffee scents linger in the air – after all, it’s mainly a coffee house.

A peek behind the counter
A peek behind the counter

This seemed to be the end of the great things happening at Nove Coffee though. Lunch starts at 12.30pm, so walking in for brunch seems like a futile attempt to eat in the mid-morning hours – so we opted to walk around the mall for a bit. Once seated, we had to wait about 10 minutes to get the attention of a waiter, and another 10 for our drinks order to get there. I was hungry so I ordered the grilled fish with mashed potatoes, my sister got the steak and fries, while my brother in law took the beef burger. As menu items, they all looked so appetizing until they got to the table.

Tasted good, but half the ingredients were missing
Not a bad looking burger

The burger was missing half the ingredients – aioli tomatoes, pickles and caramelized onions.

Where's the sauce?
Where’s the sauce?

Suzzi’s steak had no life in it, despite her request to make it medium rare, and it didn’t come with the herb butter promised.

Sad potatoes
Sad potatoes

As for my mashed potatoes – someone had seemingly opted to give me a lumpy, sad mound of tasteless potatoes instead. All the meals were served with one vegetable – a julienne of carrots, red onions, green beans and bell pepper, lightly tossed in oil, with no seasoning. The fries were of an uneven cut, scarred and just miserable – let’s just say Sonford’s have better fries. The juice served seemed tasteless and watered down.

The only good thing with the meal was the milkshake – a thick, vanilla shake that washed down the disappointing mash in my throat, as well as the waitress who served as and answered my questions honestly. The manager, Ruth, was also kind enough to listen to my commentary on their food and promise to improve on it.

Coffee looked good... tasted good.
Coffee looked good… tasted good.

I did happen to go back to Nove on a different morning, about a month later: the coffee and tea served was hot and just right, and the breakfast was great. It looks like they’ve improved on their kitchen – I was informed that they had changed the chef, and hopefully this made a difference on the main meals. The menu too had changed – simpler and without all the fancy ingredients and terms in the previous menu. I didn’t stay long enough to check out their lunch though.

Have you been to Nove Coffee lately? Let me know what you find out.

PS: Ladies, the bathroom lock has been broken for a long time – they fixed it but it still doesn’t shut closed. So you might want to get a lookout standing at the door if you need to tinkle…

Hodor! Hodor!
Hodor! Hodor!

Getting there:

Driving: Two Rivers Mall is on Limuru road, just after Riviera Mall, which is after Village Market. Nove Coffee is on the 2nd level, close to LC Waikiki.

Matatu: Take a 107 to Ruaka, or a 116 to Banana and alight at Two Rivers. You can’t miss it

Pricing:

I honestly can’t remember, but breakfasts will cost you from 500/- to around 700/-, while main meals are from 750/-. I’ll pay more attention next time.