In recent years, Nairobi has seen a marked increase in the number of restaurants that serve what they deem as healthy food to their clients. Tin Roof Cafe in Karen is no different. Our Yummy writer spoke to Abbie Sharp, the co founder who shared her journey.
Tin Roof Cafe opened its doors in Karen almost four years ago with its first outlet at The Souk. Abbie partnered with her husband and a friend to come up with a concept that would try and make their brand environmentally responsible and healthy. Two years later, after the success of their first outlet, they opened their second cafe at Langata Link about 2 kilometres from its sister cafe.
The idea was to have a simple cafe with a relaxed ambiance that people could stop by and wind down. Abbie, who is into film and photography, designed both spaces and their respective menus making salads their speciality. In a bid to stay away from typical salads, she did her research and consulted with a nutritionist friend of hers to come up with combinations that weren’t boring but pleasant. Lentil based salads or grilled vegetables and cheese are just some of the many salads that get served up if you happen to drop by. The good thing is that their salads can be ordered as a meal on its own or with an accompaniment. “Fortunately or unfortunately, we don’t serve chips at the cafe. It all depends on how one looks at it,” she says with a smile.
The good news is that they still serve burgers and sandwiches for those seeking to satisfy a mad craving on their cheat days, with a salad option of course. How about drinks? “All our juices are freshly squeezed with no added sugar. Unless requested by a customer. Our kiddie menu also comes with a gluten free and sugar free option” But what makes this cafe environmentally friendly? “We got rid of all our plastic straws and in their place, we have paper straws”.
So what made this restaurant owner make the change from documentary film making to become a chef? “I am a self taught chef, something that has grown organically since I opened Tin Roof Cafe” she confirms. “Most of what I know and what I continue to learn is based on research, trial and error. Before opening Tin Roof Cafe, I traveled extensively because of the nature of my job.” It was after the birth of her son that she realized that she couldn’t travel as much. Instead, she indulged in her second passion which was cooking. Over time, she became interested in healthy diets and eating right and decided to consult with her good friends at Green Spoon Kenya in order to get it right. The importance of teaching her chefs the right meal combinations was important because she wanted her customers to get the best of the menu, without feeling like they are eating cardboard.
Does Abby practise eating healthy in as much as she preaches it? “I’m in transition because I’ve been thinking of becoming a vegan. Granted, it’s not an overnight process because the body needs time to adjust”. She recently started researching on sugar free diets and is experimenting with sugar free banana bread which, according to her, tastes just as sweet because of the natural sugar in banana.
With time, Abbie intends to expand the restaurant’s menu which will be able to capture everyone’s diet preference from the staunch vegan to the carefree burger loving individual, but all within the parameters of a healthy meal. This is because she recognizes that people are becoming aware of what they eat and how they eat it. “As long as I continue to learn new things that are good for one’s health, it shall be reflected in the menu.”