You know how you chase a client for your money over a long time, that it eventually leaves you drained? When they finally pay up – after five months (sadly) – all you want to have is a treat to blow off steam.
Yep! That was me. And Reina was my company for the evening.
We strolled along Kimathi Street, still undecided what to have for dinner. She was craving for a hot beverage, masala tea. And she loves chicken, a bit too much than usual. We considered Galitos chicken but ditched the place since they don’t offer chai. Then I said to her, ‘Babe, remember that café you keep telling me about? Jamia Café? Let’s try that one.’
Jamia Café was our spot for the evening. It’s another Arabian cum Somali cuisine ‘hub’, similar to City Star Restaurant. Only that it’s smaller and male laden. You’d think it’s a, men’s only spot. It’s spooky actually. If you’re a lady, you’ll feel like a fish out of water.
Something I found interesting considering Reina had been there a couple of times. When I asked if she’s felt weird been there before, she pulled that lioness braggadocio saying, ‘I come here for the food, that’s my only interest. Besides, I’m a lioness. I’m not intimidated by men. Am I?’
The right answer to such a question is always, ‘no, you’re not.’
But there are ladies there though, mostly escorted by their male counterparts.
The waitresses have no name tags on them. I asked the lady waiting on us her name. She’s Sylvia. We ordered a coffee latte for me and hot chocolate for Reina to start off as we skimmed through the leather covered menu. (I don’t know what happened to Reina’s masala tea crave, haha).
My peeping eyes revealed something thought-provoking. Most of the men there looked somewhat influential, definitely married. They ordered light meals and drinks. A fruit salad crowned with a generous scoop of ice cream (which looked very yummy). Tea, coffee, pancakes, chapattis, samosa, get it?
I bet none of them wanted to go home and answer to the wife’s inquisitive question, ‘kwani what have you eaten?’
Happy marriage 101: EAT YOUR WIFE’S MEAL, ALWAYS.
We eventually ordered some finger licking good food (hello KFC).
Spaghetti, rice, stirred chicken, fish fillet, veges and two bowls of soup. (Oh, and my usual, pili pili).
The food was overly good. Really tasty. Nicely pampered with natural spices that threw a party for your taste buds as you ate. Well done, kudos to the Chef guy around there. Sylvia however forgot to bring us knives as part of the cutlery. When I asked, she apologized for that.
But I didn’t like the pili pili, agrrrh! It was bad, and I’m not the type to easily discriminate against hot pepper. I’ll tell you what else I didn’t like, the washrooms. They were shit (forgive the irony since we are talking about food). But really, those guys haven’t considered the ladies. If I’m not wrong, it’s a shared washroom for gents and ladies. And if that’s the case, it sort of explains why you see more men and few women around there. They are like unicorns.
Nonetheless, the food was really good. Also, it was served in good portions. We had our fill long before we cleared the plate.
By the time we were almost done, the place was near vacant. I could hear Reina’s echo as we spoke. Jamia Café is next to Jamia Mosque on Banda Street. Most of the men come from there to have a meal or just meet over coffee. I suspect they all went to honour Allah at that time since they all left at once soon as the mosque speaker blasted with a call for prayers, Ishaa.
Probably that’s why they close the place early. It was only a few minutes past nine o’clock. As we stepped down the stairs, the staff was winding up, slowly shutting down the place.
We walked out into the streets of Nairobi. Reina took a photo of the outside banner. (Our cover photo up there). Yes, she’s the better photographer in this relationship, ahem! Bear with the phone shots before I get her an upgraded phone camera much better than her Infinix. Will you? Good. (I hope Kilimall are eavesdropping on this).
Anyway, consider Jamia Café for a good treat of Arabian and Somali cuisine, and large portions of food when you’re famished. It’s located opposite the back end of ICEA building, directly opposite the Samsung Electronics store.
Though it’s not a late-night kind of place, it’s good for an early evening coffee meet up.
If you’ve been there before, feel free to drop a comment below sharing your experience.
Photos credit: Reina’s Phone Photography.