In Summary

  • Now, I have eaten at Monikos more times than I can possibly count, but news that the legendary Chef Kendi had left and been replaced by someone whose name I had never heard before prompted me to go back, if only to sate my curiosity.
  • It is safe to say that the Monikos menu is safe in Chef Veronica’s hands. The team has managed to reinvent the brand in such a big way -even adding a new branch, in-house and outdoor catering to their repertoire – without compromising their standards.

The growth of a good brand is often synonymous with change, both internal and external. My favourite neighbourhood eatery is one such brand. Over time, Monikos Kitchen at Nairobi’s Valley Arcade Shopping Centre has become almost unrecognisable to anyone who knew it at its inception.

The face of the flagship branch was given a massive overhaul, transforming it from the coffee lounge/bistro look of its older days, to a swanky gastro-pub for the city’s growing middle class which is influencing change in the service industry at every imaginable level.

The olive green walls are used as displays for a range of fine wines and the mood lighting in the inside dining room gives it an added touch of barroom luxe.

The larger terrace area has a nice sitting area interspersed with planter boxes and water features. I can’t for the life of me understand why, but their sterling white tablecloths are overlaid with the atrocious green and white checkered gingham table runners that are reminiscent of backwater American diners.

STANDARD ORDER

Now, I have eaten at Monikos more times than I can possibly count, but news that the legendary Chef Kendi had left and been replaced by someone whose name I had never heard before prompted me to go back, if only to sate my curiosity. The restaurant, logo and team had changed, but would these shifts affect the quality of their services?

My standard order at Monikos has always been the salmon and avocado salad and it was no different this time. A more refreshing salad has never been made as far as I know. Certified fresh Norwegian salmon in its peach-pink glory and full smoky flavour tastes so good, and I do not know who the Monikos supplier is, but I continue to be impressed.

Avocado when bad can be among the worst things in the world to put in your mouth, but when it’s good, not too ripe and creamy, there is nothing more wonderful with which to embellish a salad. Healthy too. Add to this fresh tomatoes, crispy lettuce and an orange vinaigrette dressing and you have yourself a nourishing palate pleaser.

In addition to this, I ordered a starter portion of crispy zucchini which leapt out at me from the menu pages and haunted me until I finally acquiesced. An aioli dip accompanied the sublime crumbed and deep fried zucchini fingers which were topped with some grated cheese.

It is safe to say that the Monikos menu is safe in Chef Veronica’s hands. The team has managed to reinvent the brand in such a big way -even adding a new branch, in-house and outdoor catering to their repertoire – without compromising their standards. This is no small feat.