You are hungry and in the heart of Lavington. You are luhya. You want to ask for Ugali or tea in a blue flask with a plastic cover acting as your cup. You remember it’s not your mother’s kitchen and Lavington is not for your kind of people. You decide to act civilized. You call your intestines for a meeting. You brief them that you are about to try something new and that their cooperation will be highly appreciated.
You walk to CHEKAFE – Japanese Sweets Factory. A Japanese restaurant adjucent to your office. Mai Yokote sees you and smiles. You are not sure whether she is excited to see a new client or whether she is laughing because the client is armed with a photographer and equipment and about to set up without prior notice. She is petite. Her shoe size could be half mine but am careful to approach her. She probably has done Japanese KungFu and could break me with her tongue. She has this epic hair cut I almost ask where she got it but I figure out that her barber might not be vast with the thicket on my head so I pass that. She smiles again and welcomes us. I explain myself and she is fine.
Japanese restaurant, Lavington, what a combination. Am suddenly thinking of what Yokote could do to me if I don’t clear my bill. I calm down saying the worst she could is ask me to wash fish. At least that is manageable as opposed to peeling potatoes much as it is a fishy affair.
Composed, I ask for the menu. I am looking at prices first before I engross myself to what is being offered and the relief that comes with the pricing is like that which I feel when I get home and pull off the black bra.
The prices are fair. The menu is simple and well explained. I land on some cappuccino, dumplings and tiramisu. Never mind my combination. Food is for the stomach.
To say the least, I enjoyed. The staff are friendly. They dissed me though for not being able to use chopsticks…but what do you expect of a villager? We laughed about it as I dipped my dumplings in vinegar. No. I cannot eat with sticks. The food will not taste as food but then again, how will I lick the sticks when the food is finger-licking good? How do I do the Italian scarpetta (moping of the last sauce on a plate) with chopsticks? The plate needs to go back clean!For a second am convinced that maybe the food is just tasty because this is Lavington. Food here has probably gone through Strathmore school or St. Austin’s or St. Marys for school and passed with A* hence the good taste…then comes the tiramisu, prepared at the Chekafe bakery right there and you don’t want to leave a trace.
Did I mention that they have flower pots with flowers, spices and herbs for sale. They have jewellery and antiques as well at affordable prices. They however missed the point that steel mugs (kikombe ya mabati) are very important cups. These cups are for tea! Tea prepared on the maika (three stones) …but I guess in Japan they are decorated with beads of different colors and cactus planted in and sold! We are different so I forgive them!
Seated thinking over my next move, Mai is leaving. She is happy that I came. We talk a bit and I let her go. People are still flocking in. Looks like the night just started. You need a calm homely place for a meal? You want to go to the Japan in Kenya? Try Chekafe. Arigato!!