From Lombok to Gili Air - The story of Kenza

Have you ever been to Kuta Lombok? If yes, you have probably visited one of our two favorite cafés; El Bazar Lombok and Kenza Lombok. These two neighbour cafés serve delicious, healthy and tasty food. But not only the food they serve is amazing - they also create a calm and relaxed vibe, where visitors can zone out and relax during any time of the day. The beautiful decorations, the amazing location and the nicely served food is on a daily basis creating happy customers from all over the world.


We met with one of the co-founders of Kenza, Larbi. He told us a bit more about his project:

“Kenza is my daughter. It means treasure. In 2016, I was in the process of starting a new business. Subconsciously, I was creating a business based on the things that I used to do with Kenza - when we were on the beach, spending time together; finding shells, playing in the sand, creating sand castles. Somehow, I build a white place that was inspired by the seashells that we used to collect and the beach vibes we were surrounded by.”

”Three months into the construction, I gave it the name. Actually, the project was born without a name. One day I was going through my phone - and I saw some pictures with Kenza. Suddenly I told my partner: ‘We should call it Kenza!’. Since then, Kenza was born! However, I wasn’t sure what direction to go in. We looked into who we really are, and what our lifestyle is about - and that is why it is a tropical colonial inspired by our bohemian lifestyle; the beach, the surfing, the nature, and the direction where we want to grow.”


“The food at Kenza is completely different than El Bazar. It is 100% locally sourced; no MSG, no palm oil, low on sugars - and serving people that would like to chill in slow surroundings and have a moment to themselves. The place in Kuta was inspired by my grandmother’s place. It’s a new building that we made look really old to create a space within the space. The second space is Kuta - and I wanted to create a place that is new, but not make it too polished. We made it look like it has been there for years! Because people are coming for the different experience in Kuta Lombok.”

Recently, the lovely Kenza opened another café in the East Coast of Gili Air, together with a yoga studio and a resort. Yes, you heard it right! Kenza opened in our favourite island, where Slow Food & Yoga Festival is taking place! When taking a walk from the harbour towards the East Coast of the island, this beautiful white paradise is easy to spot. Painted in a bright white colour mixed with a cute pastel green, this place will get everyone's attention. This cute café is located right at the coastline, with couches and tables facing the ocean. Right next to the café is a beautifully designed yoga studio, where yoga classes soon will begin to take place. Behind this, the stunning Kenza resort is located. Here, you will find beautiful bungalows, where we definitely recommend visitors to check it. This place is a true heaven!

”I came to Gili Air for a holiday and I met with Ibu Madé - the landlord. We became very good friends, and she asked told me; why don’t you want to do something in here? And I thought to myself: Why not? - I said ok, let’s open another Kenza! I don’t think I chose Gili Air, I think Gili Air chose me.”


Visit Kenza at Slow Food & Yoga Festival

Despite the fact that Kenza just recently opened in Gili Air, they will be one of the venues of the second edition of Slow Food & Yoga Festival. Their lovely yoga shala will be one of the places where the yoga classes of SFYF will take place, and Brandee Leigh Johnson, Co-Founder of Kenza Yoga, is also going to teach during the festival.

“I feel really honored to be invited to participate and be a part of this. I think there is a lot to learn for me; because I’m not a yogi - I have no idea about this. I am doing this for Brandee, cause she’s a good friend of mine. And I love yoga - and I love meditation. So for me, this investment is also to invest in my own growth and to learn and to meet beautiful and great people like you guys - and learn about what you are doing. To connect the dots and to be in this circle.” 

”I expect to create an impact. Either through our journey or through the things we do - to share with people. Really be in the circle. Bring everyone together and inspire.”


Sustainability and Slow Movement

A big part of Slow Food & Yoga Festival is to highlight the slow food movement. Food is a big part of the program, and nutrition workshops and food events will take place all over the island at different venues. We asked Larbi what the slow movement means to him:

“Actually, I haven’t thought about it a lot - but then you were telling your story, and it is a spot on name the way you called it “Slow”. Because that energy this place does - I am familiarizing myself with the slow movement more and more. I don’t live in the slow movement - absolutely not. But I really want to get into the slow movement. I think that gratitude, clarity and meditation will get you there.”

Another huge theme at Slow Food & Yoga Festival is sustainability. We are on a journey towards a Zero Waste Gili Air, and we have a dream to become plastic free, greener and create a place for responsible tourism. Larbi’s & Kenza’s dream is to get rid of all the plastic bottles. But they have already taken steps on the zero waste journey:

“Actually, we have invested into a small bamboo factory in Kuta. We have a shop and we sell over 2000 bamboos pr. week. So we bought all the machines for our staff, so they now get an extra income. They supply us the bamboo into our restaurants, and we sell them. The profit goes directly to them - we don’t touch it. So empowering the local community through “think local - eat global”, is the way we want to go forward. This is the umbrella for everything we do - to raise their economic situation and their knowledge.”


Gili Air Fest 2019 all rights reserved

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