“The family is like the forest …if you are inside, you see that each tree has its own position.”
Mama Ashanti is our love letter to our home in West Africa - An introduction to the life, culture, and food of the West African people.
From the moment you arrive at Mama Ashanti Lavington or Mama Ashanti Waterfront, to the moment you leave, you will be enthralled by the sights and smells of West Africa.
If you are what you eat, then Mama Ashanti is a kind of edible portrait: a celebratory, intelligent, often modern rendering of how the founders want to commemorate West African heritage in Kenya.
Mama Ashanti Lavington back in 2014
From her days as a young girl in Nigeria, cooking has always been one of Afum Matta’s strengths.
When she said “I do” to Hawas Matta in 2006, Afum was tethered to the kitchen; always crafting, perfecting and discovering new and classic authentic West African cuisine.
Cooking for her family is her way of reconnecting and sharing in the restorative powers of West African culture and its delicacies. Her husband and kids are her tasters, her guinea pigs and her greatest critics.
The Matta’s traveled all over the globe, and so did Afum’s cooking. She mastered and perfected several West African dishes.
Afum’s Goat Pepper Soup is downright delicious, loved by her sundry friends and family from all the world. She cemented her years of effort by bringing world-class stylings of her authentic west african cuisines to Mama Ashanti in 2014.
Her Goat Pepper Soup and other delectable meals now feature in the Mama Ashanti Lavington and Mama Ashanti Waterfront menus.
Akuomoah Boateng (Kwame’s) second home is in the kitchen preparing delicious meals. As a boy, he spent hours beside his mother, cooking and trying new recipes. It was a space where Kwame felt truly at home – with the warmth emanating from the live fire, and his mama’s quick glances and instructions that sent a wave of excitement every time they cooked together.
These moments were filled with first time experiences, moments of sheer wonder, and quiet interludes that strengthened their bond and solidified Kwame’s lifelong passion and dedication to authentic West African delicacies.
Mama Ashanti Lavington today
Today, Kwame cherishes and immortalizes his mother by sharing some of her recipes with Mama Ashanti – Remembering her, relearning the tastes and textures and foods that she gave him. He still has an original handwritten recipe that is proudly framed and put on display at Mama Ashanti Lavington. He may be inclined to show it to you, if you ask nicely.
Kwame already had a Ghaniaian restaurant in Kampala, Uganda, but when the Matta’s invited him to collaborate in opening a West African restaurant in Kenya, he could not resist.
Eventually, Black Rock Capital Ltd., (Kris and Nina Senanu) provided enough capital and their own individual strengths, such as marketing, for Mama Ashanti to open its doors in 2014.
After spending over 20 years in Kenya, Kris saw the need for an authentic West African restaurant that served his favourite meals from his home in Ghana. When approached by Afum, Hawas and Kwame, he was elated to invest in the dream and be part of the team that brings a taste of home to Kenya.
Working together, the founders re-discovered their roots in their journey to bring a taste of West Africa to Kenya.
This dual heritage and ardor for home gave rise to Mama Ashanti Lavington the place to find a taste of authentic West African meals in Nairobi’s diverse community.
Somewhere in the middle, between West African pride, curiosity and ambition, Mama Ashanti Waterfront opened its doors in Karen 8 years later.
The inventiveness of the founders helped them sidestep cultural and generational barriers to create a wonderful place to wine, dine and unwind.
Mama Ashanti is now the leading authentic West African restaurant in Kenya.
True to its name, all meals are inspired by their mama’s cooking, using fresh spices, herbs and ingredients sourced both locally and from their motherland.
When you walk into the Lavington and Waterfront restaurants, you will realise that Mama Ashanti is as much about West African life, music, and family as it is about cooking.
We are proud to be at the helm of a burgeoning movement.
It’s a radical openness: the sense that when you eat at Mama Ashanti, you’re tasting not just a cheffy concoction, but a part of West Africa.
We welcome you, your friends and family to join us at Mama Ashanti Lavington or Mama Ashanti Waterfront for a hearty, delicious and authentic West African meal.
Sanu da zuwa! Wabe fie! Now, you’re home!
Make a reservation to dine in for lunch with friends or host a casual business meeting. Grab a cocktail after work or celebrate a special moment over dinner.