Eatery with an appetite for art
Art offers a valuable form of stress release and therapy. I learn this as I try my hand at brush painting at the monthly coffee and paint event held at Tomoca Coffee at the Two Rivers Mall.
I am here for the coffee and snacks first and foremost. That I can reap benefits from painting despite a history of drawing an African map that looked like a big-eared human and a Kenyan map that had more squiggly lines than anything else is just an added boon.
After several cups of coffee and paninis, I can safely say that I am not the worst painter in the bunch, though the artist guiding us insists that this is a fun non-competitive exercise.
Hard to undo 16 years of being pitted against each other in the 8-4-4 curriculum though; I am the person who will twist her ankle in a bid to outrace the next person in a friendly backyard dash.
But I do have fun, and leave with a painting that I tell anyone who sees it that it was made by my little eight-year-old niece.
This may be in part due to my taking the painting instructions as mere suggestions and doing my own thing anyway.
I also leave with a bag of medium grind coffee and an appreciation of their coffee, which they make by sourcing beans and grinding them by themselves to ensure it is of the highest quality.
Coffee and great art
A few weeks later, I stumble into Tomoca Coffee’s second outlet at Ananas Centre completely by accident.
I bump into a friend at Sarit Centre who insists on walking me to a nearby joint that has great croissants, coffee, and great wall art.
With a combination of the three things that drag me out of my existence as a hermit in the house and into hallowed restaurant halls, I am hard-pressed to say no.
The restaurant is visible from the road, with the orange and clear glass panels that make up most of its structure visible from a distance.
While the Tomoca at Two Rivers favours ankara panels, the one at Ananas center Westlands favours murals and art pieces. Vibrant artworks are carefully placed inside with beautiful lights hanging from the high ceilings.
Eliud Kipchoge and Haile Gebre Selassie stare at me from a white wall as I order a cortado, a Tomoca specialty with a mutton kebab and chicken salami panini.
My friend gets a mixed berry mocktail, and a halloumi panini as he is vegetarian.
We sit and wait as we talk about various life issues, ranging from the cost of diapers as a proportion of salary after tax, the state of the roads, and which politicians we should vote out or in next year and why we should show up anyway.
Our paninis arrive soon after. The bread is well-grilled and the chicken so well done that one can revel in its umami while still enjoying the creaminess of the cheese, the tartness of the tomatoes, and the crunch of the lettuce all housed within the bread.
My friend’s halloumi panini is very tasty with the halloumi being grilled to substitute the meat.
It is a healthy snack that I might consider when I become half as conscientious as he is about good health.
For now, I am okay with polishing my panini and ordering baklava and almond croissants for dessert.
Sweets and yoga
Baklava is a Mediterranean sweet that eating one never seems to hit just the spot. As with all sweets, the rule remains, the more the better.
We split the croissant and riff through the menu. They do not offer any alcoholic drinks.
They, however, have a full list of mocktails and milkshakes. We consult our attentive waitress on when the next coffee and paint event is.
She says they are working on it and I should stay tuned to their social media pages to learn when it is to happen.
I seem undecided, I am a millennial after all, and we prefer instant information more than anything.
So she tells me about the weekly yoga sessions which happen at Tomoca, Gigiri.
We thank her and decide to flip a coin to decide whether to go for yoga or coffee and paint.
The Wi-Fi is strong just like the coffee and the pricing doesn’t make me feel ripped off.
I can see myself typing away an article as I wait for a source right here.