If you’ve been following my blog for a while, I’m sure you’ve noticed my obsession with afternoon teas, which is now fed by the rising trend of various restaurants in Nairobi offering their own version of afternoon tea. I recently got to try the one at Zen Garden and it was quite a delight.
My friend and I waltzed in and immediately were seated at our reserved table on the Jade side, with a nice view of the pastry and gelato corner on one side and their lush, green gardens on the other.As we waited for our pre-ordered afternoon tea, we ordered our drinks, a choice between tea or coffee. While my friend got the Peppermint Mocha (a must try if you’ve never had it before), I got a Double Cappuccino with Vanilla Syrup. Steaming hot, they were perfect to start us off on a rather chilly and gloomy day.Soon, the two-tiered, rustic metal afternoon tea platter arrived. The top tier had a selection of savory items and the bottom tier had a beautiful choice of sweet desserts.We started off with the savories. First, we tried the Whole Crusted Mushroom Pots, which were deep fried and coated in a crispy layer. They were scrumptious dipped in the sweet chili sauce provided. Next, we sampled the Sundried Tomatoes, Olives and Feta Parcels. Shaped like samosas, these triangular cheesy delights went down delightfully, especially since I really love this Mediterranean combination. In fact, my friend and I decided to share the last piece as we couldn’t agree on who could have it. Finally, we moved onto the Bombay Sandwiches, toasted sandwiches with potatoes, cucumber, tomatoes, onion and cheese. Dipped in green chutney, they were a little spicy. I found the onions to be a little overpowering, though this is due to a personal dislike for onions.For the non-vegetarian option, Zen Garden offers Spicy Chicken Sandwiches, Chicken on Crostini and Beef Empanadas. Another alternative for the high tea is Chicken or Tofu Baos, as an Asian option. I may have opted for Tofu Baos instead of the Bombay Sandwiches.
Next, we moved onto the lower dessert tier. I started with the Pomegranate Rose Tart, which was a mini tart crust filled with a creamy, rose-flavored filling topped with pomegranate. It was not overly-sweet and simply moreish. Then, I tried the Chocolate & Raspberry Macaron. The raspberry macaron cookies were filled with a delicious chocolate frosting and raspberry jam. The jam’s fruity tartness paired decadently well with the sweet chocolate. These were actually one of the best macarons I’ve had, perhaps even better than Pierre Hermé.Next, we tasted the Chocolate Filled Profiteroles. The French treat was so fluffy and the creamy chocolate filling was rich but not sickly sweet. I also loved the extra touch of sugar threads. Finally, we savored the Zen Special Honey Comb Cake, a simple vanilla cake with a fresh cream frosting was topped with honeycomb. The soft, moist cake topped with the crunchy honeycomb was delectable, as the flavors didn’t overpower each other.In lieu of scones in a traditional afternoon tea, we got to choose our choice of flavor of Mini Gelato Cones – my friend got Pistachio, while I got Caramel. Since I would have struggled to eat it out of the cone, as they would usually serve it, I asked for it to be served in a bowl with the waffle cone on the side. The ice cream was rich, velvety and absolutely luscious. Freshly-made, the waffle cone really added a good crunch. The gelato at the end was the extra touch that I have come to expect from Zen Garden.As always, Zen Garden has done it again.
Let’s suffice to conclude that the Zen Garden’s afternoon tea is not your typical, traditional tea. While most places serve sandwiches, desserts, and scones, Zen Gardens serve a unique high tea menu. After indulging in some lovely food, my longing for scones was soon forgotten upon being offered gelato.I was also informed that they can organize egg-free options, depending on your dietary requirements. Plus, with stellar and attentive service in a gorgeous setting, my friend and I truly enjoyed catching up as we indulged in some tasty Saturday afternoon treats.
Treat yourself or celebrate a special occasion with this afternoon high tea at Ksh. 1800/- per person, available on Saturdays from 3PM to 6PM (reserve in advance). You can also add some bubbles at an additional cost. A platter, I think, is more than enough for two people, and in fact, I ended up bringing leftovers home.
Photos by Ekta Shah