Going cuckoos over Kutu’s melt-in-your-mouth ‘kuku’

By Nailantei Norari
Thursday, September 10th, 2020
MAIN: The famed chicken and ugali served in aluminium plates. 1. One can order a soup saucer, which comes with a surfeit of crunchy spinach. 2. The chicken served with soup and spinach. 3. The Kirinyaga- based joint. Photo/PD/NAILANTEI NORARI
In summary

The chicken was soft and came off the bone easily, served with shredded spinach littering the dish. And the soup had the ‘pilipili kwa umbali’ deliciousness.

Nailantei Norari @ArtNorari

Anyone who has been to Kutus, a small town near Kerugoya, in Kirinyaga county has probably heard about Kibera Kuku joint.

Yes, we all see the irony of a restaurant in Kirinyaga being named Kibera, but the place is actually named after its proprietor and founder, John Kibira (a Kikuyu name pronounced the same way as the expansive Nairobi slum). 

It occupies two buildings, which face each other with a clearly marked name on the cream walls so one cannot get lost.

The cream building houses the bar while the opposite structure leads to the restaurant.

A makuti thatched roof shields one from the direct sunlight and the floors are cemented with well organised plastic chairs and makuti tables and  benches to allow for more seating space.

The joint is known for its fresh meats, which are sumptuous and made to order. One can choose from a selection of beef, chicken or goat. 

Simmering pot

The chicken is, however, more legendary with people coming from far and wide to try it.

There is a pot of chicken always simmering on the fire, which means that one gets whatever they order in less than five minutes. 

On a recent trip to Kutus, of course after travel restrictions were eased, I had the pleasure of being introduced to the joint by a close friend, who does not even come from the Kirinyaga region.

She told me that during a recent work trip to the county, she was introduced to the restaurant by a colleague and ever since, she makes a point of stopping by whenever she is in the region.

I ordered chicken with ugali, which was brought to our table in no time. The ugali portions are so huge that we opted to share mine.

The Kirinyaga- based joint. Photo/PD/NAILANTEI NORARI

My friend wanted to try their mbuzi, a decision I fully endorsed.

I am known for forcing people to order something different from me whenever I am trying out a new restaurant so as to try different things on the menu without necessarily ordering or paying for them myself. 

Supu saucer

The chicken was soft and came off the bone easily, served with shredded spinach littering the dish. And the soup had the ‘pilipili kwa umbali’ deliciousness.

And, you get supu saucer for free, an extra helping of sumptuous soup with spinach, which I happily crunched on with unbridled delight. My friend’s mbuzi was brought soon after.

It was equally tender and delicious, though my friend voiced preferring their chicken to any of their other meats. 

They also offer takeaway dishes though someone has to buy the tupperware at a surcharge, something I found out because I wanted to visit a friend in neighbouring Mwea town without burdening them with cooking lunch. Packed Kibera kuku takeaway was a welcome gift that can wash away any sins and fights of past.

No fancy drinks

Their drink choices are quite traditional and simple. You can get a soda of choice. You could previously get a beer, but that was before corona.

They stick to the fabric of authenticity that they are known for and, therefore. do not stock any fancy schmancy cocktails, milkshakes or any of the pretentious cocktails and drinks that city dandies and dandizettes seem to favour. 

So if you are ever in Kutus, feel free to pop into Kibera Kuku Joint, mask in hand of course and order their kienyenji kuku with a cold Fanta.

You will be sure to be singing ecstatic as the rest of us, who have had the pleasure of doing the same.

The joint has carved a niche as a must go to place for visitors who want an authentic chicken meal and has attracted even the head of state.