In this five part series, I recap my recent trip to Kenya where I sampled the up and coming coffeehouse culture Kenya. In the third part, I examine the three, Nairobi Java House, Dormans and Artcaffè, continuing with Artcaffè Coffeehouse & Bakery
The second coffeehouse I visited in Nairobi was Artcaffè, which is located at the Westgate mall in the Westlands neighborhood.
Artcaffè was a place I discovered purely by chance. I knew there was a Dormans Coffeehouse at the Westgate mall and so my original intention of going there was to visit Dormans. For those of you have have yet to visit the Westgate mall, you will notice to your left, as you enter the mall through the main entrance, the open patio seating for Artcaffè. There was a sign there that actually peaked my interest because with the name, Artcaffè, the sign had the tagline, “coffeehouse and bakery”.
So rather than going straight up to the 2ndfloor where Dormans is located, we decided to just go and check out the place, simply take a quick peek inside and see if it indeed looked like a coffeehouse or at least served espresso. If so, then we would try the place out and visit Dormans the next day instead since Dormans was in plenty of locations.
After a quick word with the maître d’hôtel, we ended up ordering lattes instead of going to Dormans. Dormans would have to wait for another day. The latte I had there was actually really good… it even came with a heart shaped latte art design. I certainly had a great time there.
Now the one thing about Artcaffè that really stood out for me, besides the fact that my latte was great, was their customer service. Of the three places, Artcaffè clearly had the superior customer service. I really liked the fact that the waiters/waitresses were not only helpful and attentive, but that they were flexible and thinking out of the box. There were three things specifically that I thought were really awesome that they did for me.
- Even though the was a general policy forbidding photography, the people there were very understanding and accommodating and allowed me to take pictures. They were satisfied that I wasn’t trying to set up my own coffeehouse, though we joked a bit about that, and I think the manager really understood that in the age of the Internet, my blogging about their place is actually free publicity. I didn’t meet the manager in person but the waitress gave me his card just in-case I wanted to contact him in the future.
- When I asked to borrow an empty paper cup so that I could take a picture of it, the waitress said she’d see what she could do. She came back some minutes later and actually gave me the cup and told me I could keep it. This is in stark contrast to Nairobi Java House who told me that the only way I could get an extra cup was if I was to order another latte… This despite the fact that I had ordered a latte. What was even more bizarre was that when I offered to buy a cup from Java House, since I thought maybe they are really tight on inventory control, the supervisor was not having any of that.
- Finally, the fact that the maître d’hôtel were really friendly and passionate about the place and they were willing to give us interesting tidbits about the coffeehouse despite the fact that they they were also really busy dealing with other customers, I thought was really incredible. They actually did a great job of answering my questions and tag teaming as they also attended to customers coming in and out of the place.
Once again I have to say that this place had excellent customer service, and that alone, along with their great coffee will certainly drive me to go back to Artcaffè for my latte next time I am ever in the area.
Artcaffè certainly made a great impression on me and this is once of the places that I would highly encourage friends and family to go check out if they happen to be visiting the area.