Picture this: A cozy sofa, with the cutest yet basic fabric and pillows, vintage white outdoor cafe tables – inside, dressed with metal pails with simple succulents growing within them, cozy sisal barn armchairs and floor to ceiling windows giving you all the natural light your Instagram feed will ever need, with views of the greenest flora & fauna – and Spirit by Kwesta ft Wale playing in the background… doesn’t that sound like a perfect day already? All you need is a good book or your laptop and a cup of freshly roasted coffee and you can disappear from the world for hours.
This is what the Tin Roof Cafe offers in ambience alone – I hadn’t even ordered a coffee yet. This quaint, yet elegant little cafe is a long way from home for a number of people, including myself who don’t live in the Karen suburbs but it is definitely worth the drive. Tucked away in a nice forested corner of Karen, just opposite the Hub shopping mall, this cafe is not only a health conscious restaurant but also sits in the same space as an art gallery, the Souk collection of artisan shops, a book swap library and is probably the one place you’ll get your fill of Avocado toast throughout the day – yes it’s that hipster but I love it.
This place had been on my list of brunch places to check out for quite a while but never bothered taking the time to come all this way until just recently. I had time, I had reason (meetup with a friend) and I wanted to finally cross it off said list so here we are. Tin Roof Cafe is known as one the few health based restaurants in Nairobi aka all the gluten free and vegetarian people can find a variety of stuff to choose from here. Everything is made fresh from their inhouse garden, I literally saw the waiter bringing in ingredients this morning from around the corner and y’all know Karen isn’t a place with a mama nani kiosk two minutes from your house… another reason I know the food is hella fresh – it took quite a while to get your order. Aside from drinks or a salad (they have a self service Ottolenghi salad bar) anything else that needs to be cooked will take a while so come here when you’re hungry and not hangry…
Their breakfast menu is not as limiting as other places that may only offer a full English breakfast or just the staples – french toast, pancakes etc… they have different variations to your typical pancake or omelet dish and a breakfast pizza option – which I’m not too sure I would try out but that’s just me. I was in a super breakfast mood so I opted to have a latte (KSH250), pancakes with maple syrup (KSH420) and since I was bright enough to come here during Lent, I took a side of mushrooms (KSH200) instead of my beloved baecon. My friend had the full English Breakfast (KSH1100) which comprises of eggs (whichever way you like them) a roast tomato, two sausages, a side of bacon and mushrooms and a bread basket of freshly toasted rye bread and he had some masala tea (KSH200) as well.
The food was really good, they made me some perfectly lean crepes, I don’t like places that say they have crepes and the pancake comes out super doughy or runny… nope. My one complaint about the lovely Tin Roof cafe – the portions… I think the lunch portions may be bigger as I’ve seen images and also some servings while I was here but the breakfast – not so much. Breakfast is meant to be heavy and hearty especially if you order a loaded meal and not just bread and butter. The mushroom serving was way too little for that amount of money and the sausages made are chipolatas – not full size filling goodness. The bread basket – being in a basket – should probably have been more than two slices of bread but maybe Art Caffe and Brioche has spoilt me too much and now I think every place serves a whole lot of bread in a bread basket… I could be wrong, but I did find two slices too little for a full English breakfast.
I also had their soup of the day which was the sweet potato and pumpkin soup (KSH550), this I really loved and the salted caramel milkshake (KSH500) because the menu indicated that they make it using Delia’s ice-cream which is THE BEST salted caramel ice cream in existence. It was not as thick as I’d have liked but it was nice and salty, caramel-y, delicious, perfect end to an unplanned working day at this boutique coffee shop. I came here to catch up with my friend, but when he left I ended up sitting here all day writing and eating and writing and thinking and writing and just being in the moment. If you are looking for a nice little escape from Nairobi’s daily noise and chaos, with functioning wifi and indulge in some hearty, healthy food, visit the tin roof cafe – you’ll be happy you did.
Until next time, happy brunching!
Off Dagoretti road, opposite The Hub, Karen
Hours:Monday to Sunday ~ 7:30am – 5:30pm