UP MAGAZINE Vol 7.07 Photography Issue - Page 29

food UP TOWN Nyama Mama: Hip or just a hipster eating habit? R By Olivia Kidula enovating, refurbishing and rebranding anything for the purpose of accommodating middle class tastes sounds like a pretentious move. One could argue that these actions result in chasing away the very authenticity that is claimed to be sought after. History has proven that when facets of lower class lifestyles filter up into the domain of the upper classes, they promptly become unaffordable, ingredients are ‘discovered’ by trendy chefs and transformed into haute cuisine. It no longer is about enjoying the food but how fancy the adjectives are on the menu of whatever establishment is being pushed by trend-sensitive food bloggers. Then again, you could say that moving a traditionally low income food from the home to the restaurant is a positive move. Haute cuisine requires time and patience and the added care could enhance the flavour of the meal and provide opportunities to mix and play around with a variety of flavours. It’s also bringing the cuisine to new people, new tastebuds who would otherwise be isolated from traditional foods. There are foods that are easily identified with their country of origin. Once you see meat on a bed of flat crepe-like sourdough flatbread you’ll know you’re eating Ethiopian food. Even with the ongoing jollof wars of Ghana and Nigeria — neither country can agree on whose jollof is better — that dish is identifiable with the West of Africa. But do we as Kenyans have a dish that declares our national presence as soon as it is presented on a plate? These concerns come to a head at Nyama Mama, a restaurant that intends to showcase true Kenyan hospitality. It describes itself as an unpretentious, fun, modern-day African roadside diner. Specializing in African fusion cuisine, the diner is inspired primarily by Kenya, inc