Billionaire's Daughters Make Their Mark With Nairobi Street Kitchen

  • Side View of Nairobi Street Kitchen
    Side View of Nairobi Street Kitchen
  • Adil Popat is a renowned businessman who takes pride in running several multi-million companies in the country.

    Popat is the founder of Simba Corp Hospitality, which manages the Olare Mara Kempinski in the Maasai Mara game reserve and Villa Rosa Kempinski in Nairobi. He is also a member of some top companies in the country and now his daughters have started making a mark in Nairobi.

    The two, Alyana and Alyssa Popat, are part of the Simba Corp family empire, a conglomerate that has roots in auto sales, hospitality, financial services, and real estate.

    At their father's empire, Alyssa is the Head of Projects and Facilities while Alyanna is the Marketing Manager for the Simba Hospitality.

    Alyana and Alyssa Popat Founders of Nairobi Street Kitchen
    Alyana and Alyssa Popat Founders of Nairobi Street Kitchen

    Their Nairobi Street Kitchen is described as the most 'instagrammable' project in the entire East African region. The luxurious joint has a collection of 11 restaurants, bars, and entertainment venues that promise an exciting street food experience located in the Westlands area of Nairobi County.

    The construction of the state-of-the-art facility took 4 years working in collaboration with Studio EM. The designers took inspiration from all over the world making sense of the bustling environment that is created and adorned by gorgeous murals and artworks.

    The sisters contracted local artists to do the artistic works on the street kitchen with inspiration also coming from the local boys' band, Sauti Sol.

    The concept on offer about Nairobi Street Kitchen includes Mexican culture that is hugely described by offering exquisite outdoor experiences. 

    “We didn’t exactly tiptoe into the East African market, rather, we jumped in and landed with a thud, thanks to the support from a really ambitious client. It was such an amazing project to work on with a fantastic client in Alyana and Alyssa who also put their own unique spin on the project, the results are just awesome and we look forward to doing even more in the region," stated founder and creative director of Studio EM, Emma Stinson.

    Revealing the reason for starting the business, they noted that the idea sprouted from their love of different cuisines from a wide range of cultures across the world.

    "Returning home as an architecture graduate (Alyssa), I was looking for something to do and was thrown into the deep end at the age of 23 with an incomplete design project and spent four years. I thought I knew everything, but after the first meeting I went home and broke down. I suddenly realized how serious this project was. I decided to learn everything from plumbing to building construction to repairing and modifying containers and vehicles right away. Without doing everything myself, I wouldn’t have this awe of people in this industry," Alyssa stated.

    The joint is characterised by a lot of hype and other fun activities employing workers between the age of 18 and 32 years old. They also offer a training program and staff can learn skills from pulling pasta to smoking meat to making kombucha and understand the various concepts.

    Opening up about the challenges the kitchen encounters in the male-dominated field, the sisters noted that some government has been hurting their business that is currently booming.

    "Starting a business is always a challenge. We wanted this place to be completely different from Kempinski. We wanted to make NSK more accessible and friendlier in terms of pricing. That was new territory and we wanted to accept the challenge and make it our passion. We saw an opportunity and took it," the sister stated.

    "Our biggest challenge so far is to close the bars at 7 pm. As a restaurant, the money comes in when people drink. And nobody wants to drink so early in the evening, it was hard for us."

    Its unique nature has continued to dominate the city attracting top celebrities and political figures including President Uhuru Kenyatta.

    Inside Nairobi Street Kitchen
    Inside Nairobi Street Kitchen