Shopping and eating in Parklands

Nairobi has plenty of big supermarkets and big box stores like Chandarana Foodplus and Nakumatt where you can buy all you need and they are perfectly fine. For produce South African chain Zuccini is a pretty good choice. One google search will get you all the details on those and maps how to get there . I just wanted to show a few of my favorite places Nairobi is loving so much already but you might not have heard about if you are new to the party. Let’s start with Parklands, vibrant centre of food and shopping.

 

DIAMOND PLAZA     Shopping mall & food Court

4th Parklands & Masari Rd

Diamond Plaza has been and always will always be one of my favorite places on the globe.  Great tailors for Western and Indian attire and everything else you need Indian, jewelry, Mithai, hairdressers, nail salons, Masai markets and one of my favorite food courts in the Nairobi. The basement is home to a Chandarana Foodplus supermarket. Diamond Plaza a nice place for an afternoon to take your out-of-country friends and for me, and Nairobi, it’s in the line of places for very day shopping. Also home to a branch of Maru Bhajia (more on that below) If you are a fitness and health aficionado please grab yourself a cut on the spot Madufu (Fresh coconut) for some great juice right there or to take home in a bottle. I always take mine back to have it refilled. I will have to do a post on Diamond Plaza and Sky Mall and high ridge area alone. It has so many wonderful places to meet, eat and shop.

MARU BHAJIA     

Limuru Road (across from Shell Gas station between 5& 6th Parklands)

Always, always , al-ways …… get a plate of Maru Bhajia if you find yourself on Limuru Road. Between 5th & 6th Parklands you’ll see a big KFC, but you don’t go there (don’t do it!), instead you turn to the parking across the street and get some very yummy, so much better than KFC,  Maru Bhajia. These battered potato slices are so very very delicious with the Imli (tamarind chutney) and the tomato/chilli chutney. Sooo good.

 

LEAF AND BEAN

Limuru Road (across from Shell Gas station between 5& 6th Parklands)

On the same stretch as Maru Bhajia, you’ll find Tea and Coffee specialist Leaf and Bean. The owner Imran Shamsher has turned this little nook into the most classy of tea places. Having studies tea as a science he specialized in making and mixing his own teas and tea related drinks. Every tea order comes with its own hourglass to keep track of the right time and his well-trained staff of in-house trained tea enthusiasts will give you all the deeds on your order. The coffee is among the best brew in town and the Leaf and Bean menu features yum pastries, cakes and sandwiches.

I did take pics some time ago but can’t find them, so I grabbed this logo of the Facebook page. At least you’ll know what to look for. Pics following!

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THE MUG            

Limuru Road (across from Shell Gas station between 5& 6th Parklands)

Across from Maru Bhajia there is an always crowded coffee lunch room which I was a bit hesitant to go to in the beginning because it would be full with only men every time I walked by. When I went there with my husband once it turned out to be a very nice place. The food is nice, sandwiches, some Swahili food, very decent cappuccino and coffee. The staff is lovely. It’s not a Java and particularly the pastries and muffins are very typical to what you get here a lot, a little denser and a bit drier but very fresh. A menu on the wall made mentions of camel milk and I was hoping for a camelcinno which is on the menu at a place in town I like to go to. The MUG doesn’t always serve camel milk and doesn’t offer it in cappuccino but maybe they’ll change to it in the future. The MUG is a low key place and it gives you more of local East African feel. No hipsters hogging the wifi in this place.

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The MUG, Limuru rd, Nairobi

CORNER SHOP                                                 

 Located in Diamond Plaza right at the parking

It is in…exactly…the corner. Lots of staff with wide knowledge of all their produce. They’ll pick out the best for you. Full service, all is picked, packed and brought to your car if you like. Reasonable in price and since there is a high turn over, produce is super fresh, staff is kind, patient, warm and very knowledgable. Make sure to tip to the person helping you.

NGARA FLOUR MILLS      

2nd Left Off 5th Parklands across from Aga Khan sportsclub +254 724 480292

Until I wrote this post I actually had no idea what the name of the store is we always go to. At home we call it The Ration Shop. (I think it’s a term common in India where Rations refer to all non perishables) When I just moved here it was a big laugh for my in-laws and friends when I initially misheard it as Russian Shop. Of course I did raise my eyebrows at first on the idea that the entire Indian community would buy all their groceries at a Russian store and I was quite intrigued going here the first time I had the chance.  I wandered in with great expectations of canned shchi, borscht and sauerkraut 🙂 Nothing of the sort of course, just every possible legume, flour, nuts and spice you can imagine and a wide array of canned and cleaning supplies. The store has been here for ages and our family has gone here for at least 30 years, maybe at some time at a different location.  Everything comes in paper bags and gets weight on old school weighing scale. Don’t get discouraged if you see a crowd inside, the waiting time is never very long, the staff is highly efficient.

More stores on both sides of this parking that are worth exploring this strip for local and Indian products,  Chevra & savory snacks. In the future I will take a weekend to do an inventory. Outside on the parking Mama Mbogas ( vegetable & fruit stalls ran by friendly ladies)  can get you all your veggies if you like one-stop shopping.

 

SKY MALL    food court     

Next to Diamond Plaza, 4th Parklands / Masari Rd Westlands

Located just next to Diamond Plaza one can walk themselves in less than 2 minutes to the food court of Sky Mall. For a while it was lingering in excitement but got an upgrade about two years ago with new management and now features a great selection of stores. What gets me to go there every week at least once is the food court though which I believe caters mostly to vegetarian foods. What does a trip to Sky Mall look like when I go there?

BAKERY CHEERS

Next to Diamond Plaza, 4th Parklands / Masari Rd Westlands

Close to the entrance you will find a branch of one of Nairobi’s finest bakers: Cheers. European style breads with rye and catering to the food court with pizzas a light version of the deep fried variety: oven baked samosa. Inside there are a few tables for a nice intimate morning coffee.

AURA     vegetarian restaurant

Inside Sky Mall, Masari Rd / 4th Parklands, next to Diamond Plaza

When I meet my lovely friend Hasmita there we always choose AURA, vegetarian Indian food, famous for its huge bowl-shaped Crispy Rumali roti  and something I never seem to get enough of: Super Jumbo sandwich. I had it yesterday and didn’t even take a photo (note to self!). Their  Thali is super yum and incredibly affordable at 500Ksh. The one we had this week featured some highlights of the Punjabi cuisine like Palak paneer, black dahl and mixed veggies. All in the creamy mughlai style we love far too much.

GELSI     Espresso bar and Gelato

Inside Sky Mall, Masari Rd / 4th Parklands, next to Diamond Plaza

One simply cannot love espresso in Nairobi without a cappuccino or gelato from Gelsi.  This fully equipped Italian espresso bar was an unexpected pleasant surprise when I found it here about a year ago in the heart of little India. This caffeine oasis is owned by the most charming Italian that has been in the gelato business his entire life. Always take home his chocolate gelato. All made in house and is incredibly affordable. His staff is among the nicest in the Nairobi area.

NIRVANA     Vegetarian restaurant

Inside Sky Mall, Masari Rd / 4th Parklands, next to Diamond Plaza

Just before I head back home I order a big bag of Punjabi Samosa and Paneer Samosa for the house staff and the always hungry family. No family event at our house is ever without getting samosas from this place. They also serve a wide range of vegetarian food, Indian Thali, and sandwiches.

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Nirvana, Sky Mall, Nairobi

Maharaj

Inside Sky Mall, Masari Rd / 4th Parklands, next to Diamond Plaza

New to the food court is this little gem serving the finest selection of Indian street foods to the a steady line of customers. I have to order their entire line over the course of the next months. When I saw the pav (Indian buns) lined up against the window I expected Pav Bhaji ( spicy vegetable and potato curry served on a lightly roasted bun). Not that day the owner told me but he was serving two other delicious popular dishes Ragdo  (veggie burger made of red kidney beans) or Dabeli (potato Behl puri, puffed rice and crunchy bits with Imli (tamarind sauce). If  you’re looking for me, this is the place you have big chance of finding me.

 

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