When Susan Wong visits the popular Loresho cafe Wasp & Sprout for brunch she finds comfort in their rustic charm and quirky vibe.
The very best cafes are movie sets in which guests enjoy their roles as both cast and spectators. Whether you’re people-watching as you sip on a Flat White, or you’re dreaming-up your next big idea; at Wasp & Sprout, it’s easy to get pulled-in and lose track of time in this quirky café.
Chris and Angela Neale have turned their bespoke furniture store into one that first served coffee, then by popular demand grew to serve brunch on the weekends and now is a quaint restaurant that will soon host a three-course Date Night meal.
Opened in late November of last year, Wasp & Sprout has built a dedicated following from the Loresho community and beyond. Located above a former VHS rental store on the ground level of a gorofa known as Old Loresho Shopping Centre which looks slightly tired from the outside, is this hidden gem – a Fair Trade home décor furniture store and café nestled towards the rear of the building.
A small beer garden leads you up to the café, past high bar stools upholstered with recycled sisal coffee bags and into the charming interior of Wasp & Sprout.
A giant hand-carved wooden wasp hangs above the barista counter area, its façade finished with raw oriented strand board giving the space a beautiful sense of an effortless and natural aesthetic. The style is echoed throughout the space: exposed concrete and Edison-like light bulbs with draped cords. Small vividly painted earthen pots of cacti serve as table numbers and add pops of colour. The dining space is airy, with generous natural daylight that seamlessly flows into the homeware showroom where you’ll find repurposed furniture pieces, chopping boards, garments, artwork and even jewelry.
The ease of the space is echoed in the simple and honest food featured on the clipboard menu – plates of ingredient-led food. The owners’ conscious effort to support local businesses and suppliers is obvious.
During my most recent visit, my friends and I enjoyed the popular Breakfast Panini with soft and fluffy scrambled eggs, bacon and melted cheese. The good bread is slightly crisp on the exterior and especially crisp on the bottom, making this substantial plate fundamentally satisfying.
Healthy rolled oats and grains may not necessarily sound appetizing, but the Bircher Muesli with apples, raisins, yogurt and honey finished with a sprinkling of almond flakes and pumpkin seeds will change your mind. Every nibble is packed with anti-oxidants, dietary fiber, vitamins, delicious sweetness from the honey and the interesting textures of mush from the soaked oats paired with the crunchiness of the seeds and almonds. It tastes a little like raw dough and that’s probably why I like it so much!
Then there was the breakfast salad of spinach, bacon, caramelized onions, cherry tomatoes with a special house dressing and topped with a beautiful poached egg that oozed freely once pierced by my fork. Glorious, full, luscious green and medium-sized spinach leaves from a nearby organic garden are carefully arranged on the bottom of the bowl. The joy of cutting into these tender leaves – the moment when they decisively tear – is accentuated by the spinach’s distinctive crisp texture thanks to its recent harvest. This cold bowl of greens, transformed into a light morning feast topped with warm ingredients will definitely get you excited first thing in the morning if a bowl of oatmeal seems boring or if you’re feeling sluggish. Pretty as a picture, I’d love to have this everyday if I could.
Having a healthy salad or grains means more allowance for a sinful dessert, right? Though the brownie tasted and smelled exceptional, the texture was crumbly on this occasion rather than cakey, chewy or even fudgy. As for the Scone with Jam, if you’re looking for feather-light texture, this version was definitely denser, crumbled deliciously and wasn’t too oily or sweet since you’re meant to slather butter and jam on it when you eat.
The extensive tea collection and decent baristas make Wasp & Sprout one of the better start-up cafes in Nairobi. It’s a place that I look forward to spending time at, perhaps it’s their rustic charm or their commitment to supporting suppliers found in their immediate area; Wasp & Sprout just makes you feel a little better about the world one meal at a time.