I have been looking forward to Nairobi restaurant week since the first edition was launched last year. I went to 3 restaurants last year, and I’m hoping to do more this year. Nairobi Restaurant Week 2015 runs from 22nd Jan- 2nd Feb. All menus are priced at Kshs1500 ($16) to Kshs2000 ($22) exclusive of drinks.
Last year the menus ranged from Kshs 1250 ($14)- Kshs 1750 ($19) , I am hoping that the prices do not make a similar leap in next year’s edition.
My first stop was Café Maghreb located in Nairobi’s Serena Hotel. The Moroccan-styled Café Maghreb is an internationally themed buffet breakfast and lunch venue. It features both a table d’hôte (fixed price menu) dinner menu and a 24-hour brasserie service.
Lobby of the Serena Hotel Nairobi
The décor is Moroccan themed, the colors are warm and rich and there are pretty wrought metal ornaments scattered on shelves throughout the restaurant. My favorite detail was the light fixture which consisted of hanging lanterns.
The first starter I tried was salmon nicoise salad with truffle and anchovy dressing, soft boiled quail eggs and walnuts. This was rather tasty but could have been better with a bit less of the dressing.
My next starter was the mushroom soup 3 ways .The soups a fine blend of button, oyster and porcini mushrooms, was rich in flavor and had a slight smoky taste. It was my favorite of the two starters – not only was it delicious but also very filling.
The main course was lemon chicken . The delicately grilled chicken ballotine was set on orange couscous. The chicken was accompanied by saffron rice and fresh market vegetables.
The lemon chicken was done just right, all the flavors came together beautifully. The unexpected sweetness from the raisins in the couscous was a welcome addition.
I cleared my plate, except for the veggies which I left untouched. I am not a fan of broccoli and cannot stand the texture of cooked carrots. I did try the creamed spinach but found it too bland. It tasted like plain steamed spinach; the taste of cream could barely be felt.
I then ordered a glass of mango juice, it tasted fresh (I could tell it was not from a packet). I hate it when you order juice in a restaurant and they serve you with straight from the packet juice which you get at the supermarket for cheaper.
For dessert I had the vanilla panna cotta with strawberry sauce and flavoured crispy macaroons. This was my first time having a panna cotta and I loved it. It was so good that I’m searching for recipes to see if I can make some at home.
Overall I enjoyed my meal very much, and so did my companions. The service was average, there really isn’t much to say about it. Would I go back? Yes. The meal was definitely value for money, most restaurants with a kshs 1500 ($16) Nairobi Restaurant Week menu only serve 2 courses.
If you’re interested in seeing how the meals were prepared you can go over to my friend Jess’ blog.
Disclosure I was invited to sample Café Maghreb’s Nairobi Restaurant Week menu by Nairobi Serena Hotel during Nairobi Restaurant week. However all opinions are mine.
P.S. Based on my experience I recommended Cafe Maghreb to my friends and they had nothing but good things to say about their Nairobi Restaurant Week menu.
Have you been to the Cafe Maghreb? What was your experience like? Please share in the comments …
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