Nairobi’s Newest Beer Garden | Brew Bistro and Lounge Rooftop

Every time I opened my Facebook or my Instagram, I kept seeing pictures of the new Brew Bistro and Lounge Rooftop, located at the top of the Fortis Towers on Electric Avenue, Westlands. Since I had only visited the original Brew Bistro and Lounge at Piedmont Plaza once (and loved it!), I was excited to have the new venue, literally five minutes from home.

So one not-so-sunny Sunday, I accepted Soraiya’s (the owner) invite to review the place, who I had met the week before on a very busy Saturday night at the same place, and here I was at the entrance of the Fortis Towers on Electric Avenue, with my favorites, making it a family affair.

We drove inside and immediately go down to the basement. There are three lifts but only one goes up to the rooftop, on the eleventh floor. Note, the lifts are very slow and since there is only one lift that goes up to the rooftop, I recommend taking the other two lifts, that are quicker, to the tenth floor and then walking up the one flight of stairs to the rooftop. And the exercise may help combat all the deliciousness you’ll soon indulge in. 😉

It takes us about fifteen minutes before we reach the top. As soon as I got out of the lift, I was shown straight to the table I had reserved. The restaurant-cum-pub looks completely different, to a week ago, when the entire place was packed with partygoers as the DJ dropped the beat and the drinks flowed. Today, it was relatively empty and noticeably quiet.

As I followed the hostess to the table, one of the first things I noticed was the bright green turf (fake grass) that brought in a fresh vibrancy to the place. We were seated in the bright dining area on the picnic-style wooden tables and benches, next to an open kitchen behind clear, glass walls.

We took a seat and Martin, our server for the day, came over and introduced himself and offered us the lunch menus. I later learned that this particular Brew Bistro offers a special lunch menu (from 11am-4pm) to serve to the corporate crowd from and around Westlands. I asked for the other normal Brew food and drink menu, as I found myself admiring the table setting. Contrasting the brown, wooden table was a green turf placemat for each diner and there was a small potted succulent alongside a pebble-filled mason jar in the middle of the table.

We ordered the drinks first. Dad ordered a Brew crafted beer – Chuikolsch that is 100% malt pale blond, crystal clear with a light body, medium bitterness and clean taste. Both Diva and Mom got virgin mojitos. I couldn’t decide what to order because the Brew has so much to choose from. I decided to stick with something I knew I had enjoyed before, so I ordered the Snakebite, a beer cocktail comprising of the Brew crafted Simpils lager, apple sour and cranberry juice. It was sweet, sour and bitter from the lager and something I’d probably never have thought to order because I’m not a fan of beer. However, I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Once the order for drinks was placed, I was confused about what to order to eat. Brew Bistro serves tapas and bistro pub fare, where there is a large array of both vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes to choose from, ranging from the famous Big Five burgers to the chicken wings to pasta! Perhaps I should add that the menu is far larger and diverse than your average pub.IMG_5185I still hadn’t decided what to order, but Dad created a custom order of penne (pasta in the form of short wide tubes) with red tomato sauce with garlic and Mom and Diva ordered a veggie char-grilled burrito. Soraiya, the fabulous vino connoisseur, noticed my confusion and suggested the build-your-own-noodle bowl or the German Potato Pancakes, both from the lunch menu. I decided to step outside my comfort zone and order something I hadn’t tried before so I ordered the German Potato Pancakes.

As we waited for the food, Soraiya took me on a tour of the place showing me all the cool nooks and crannies. Right next to the low, picnic-style tables and benches where I was seated was the airy and open-to-the-elements sheesha area, where patrons can smoke a sheesha while relaxing on black and white cozy day beds and sofas under red umbrellas, overlooking the stunning views of Nairobi. There were even little wooden fireplaces, for the cooler evenings.IMG_4388

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IMG_5191The main attraction is the dance floor, which is surrounded by several high tables with beautiful red, geometrical chairs. Brew Bistro’s iconic red is visible throughout the lounge. Soraiya told me that they will host boxing matches in a boxing ring on the dance floor once a month. So there’s something for you boxing fans to check out!

Next to the dance floor, were more high tables near the island bar, where their amazing cocktails are created. Right behind the bar is a wine rack, for all those vino lovers and note; they have an exclusive wine list.IMG_5183

IMG_5184Around the bar and near the dance floor, murals hang on the walls showing the beer brewing process, since they couldn’t have a brewery on site, like the one at Brew Bistro in Piedmont Plaza. Fret not, all their beer is brewed at the Brew Bistro brewery.IMG_5188

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Look at that view!

On the other side of the bar is a private room that can accommodate about 20-25 people. It is perfect for a more intimate setting or the corporate events. And I must mention here, the views of Nairobi from the huge windows in this room are phenomenal. Right above the bar is a VIP area that only serves bottle-service.IMG_5189As I returned to the table, the food arrived. Dad got his pasta first. I sneaked a bite and it was delicious. The tomato sauce was well seasoned, tangy and full of flavor. The pasta itself was al dente, seamlessly cooked.IMG_5196Martin then came back to apologize because the chef had accidentally put chicken in the burrito so they were making another one. I really appreciate it when the staff realizes that they’ve made a mistake and fix it before you can even complain.

The veggie burrito then came along with my potato pancakes. The char-grilled burrito consisted of a flour tortilla filled with grilled vegetables and cheddar cheese, and was served with Spanish rice and beans. I also stole a mouthful. It was tasty and scrumptious. It also came with the four condiments, including guacamole and fresh pico de gallo (a fresh salsa made with diced raw onions, tomatoes, chiles and cilantro)that went harmoniously well with the vegetables.IMG_5176My German potato pancakes, plated on a stone slab and served on a wooden board, were far beyond my expectations. It consisted of potato and onion mix sautéed to a crisp. The potato was cooked well and was soft and yet crunchy. The onion, which I’ve not always been a fan of, was also very tasteful and not overpowering. The pancakes came topped with an apple horseradish sauce, a few thin green apple slices and a creamy yogurt, that both gave the pancakes that extra oomph. I mean I could have wolfed down those pancakes on their own, but the apple horseradish sauce took it to the next level as it paired really well with the crisped up potato and onion. The sliced apple also provided a wonderful tartness that went nicely with the starchy potato. The rich, velvety yogurt just helped cool down the strong flavors and helped me calm the spiciness in my mouth from having too much of their homemade chili sauce. It was so good!IMG_5180Dad also ordered a side of Roasted Rosemary Potatoes. I didn’t try them but they looked so lip smacking and you may find me scarfing down on a bowl of these, the next time I’m there.IMG_5179As always, I was the last one to finish up and at this point, I was stuffed. But because Mom and Diva both suggested dessert, who am I to refuse such a wonderful offer? Brew bistro has an eclectic range of desserts to choose from. Since I was so full, I let diva and mom to take the dessert reigns and order. Diva got the Berries Eaton Mess from their lunch menu and Mom ordered a Chocolate Mint Tiramisu from their normal menu.

While I was really having a great time, the one thing that was disappointing was the food took forever to be prepared and yet the place was not even half-filled. However, I did appreciate that both Soraiya and her husband, Aleem, the master brewer, went from table to table time-to-time to check on the patrons making sure everyone was having a good time.

The desserts arrived. The Berries Eaton Mess comprised of a bright, pink strawberry-coconut meringue and a white pistachio meringue that also had some pistachio bits for that extra crunch placed onto a tiramisu sponge cream topped with fresh berries – raspberries and blueberries (both my favorites!). And since it was dessert, it was dusted with powdered sugar. In the true Brew style, the whole dish was served on a sleek, rectangular black tile. I found the meringue to be too sweet for my palate (shocking, I know!) but I loved the texture. My favorite component of the dessert was the white, rich, smooth and velvety tiramisu cream, and I think it was one of the best Eaton Messes I have tried.IMG_5177Even though I was super-stuffed, I still had to sample a bite of Mom’s Chocolate Mint Tiramisu. It consisted of layers of chocolate cake and the white, luscious tiramisu cream and a few chopped nuts. It was then topped off with a sprig of fresh mint and some white chocolate rolls. The cake was moist, delicious and pleasantly chocolate-y, and the tiramisu cream had subtle hints of the mint. It was absolutely delectable and I wondered why no one else had thought to put chocolate, coffee and mint together to make such awesome desserts.IMG_5181Among the other desserts offered, the Cinnamon and Chili Churros and the Apple Pie (a classic staple that you can never go wrong with) caught my eye.

And after that, we headed home, enwrapped in a heavenly food coma, and I did the only thing you can do after such a great meal: ‘gram the best picture of the outing (Follow me on Instagram at @jainihs).

P.S. Brew Bistro and Lounge Rooftop is one of the many top restaurants participating in the Nairobi Restaurant Week 2016 (#NRW2016). I got to sample the incredible food the chefs have created just for you at the NRW2016 Press Launch. Check out all the menus here: www.nairobirestaurantweek.com

For discounts and all things yummy, go to eatout.co.ke


Pictures for this blog provided by Diva Shah

I was invited to review the Brew Bistro and Lounge Rooftop, but all views and opinions are my own.

 

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