The Kenyan Nomad

The Kenyan Nomad

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Ventana Review: Nairobi Restaurant Week 2017

The first Friday of Nairobi Restaurant Week 2017 found my mum, my sister and I at Ventana on Lower Kabete Road, celebrating a "Dhawan women's night out". I'd been there before early last year, and I'd enjoyed my experience, so I was eager to try it again. The NRW 2017 three course menu for dinner and a cocktail was 1,950 Ksh. per person, which was a pretty good deal. 

For my cocktail, I chose to have a Chivas Collins - Chivas, lemonade and soda water with apple slices. To be honest, I wasn't the hugest fan of this one. The Chivas taste came through almost harshly, but it did have a pleasant aftertaste. Apple gummy bears, if I'm being honest! The presentation could've been better too - the regular supermarket straw slightly dampened my enthusiasm for the drink.

For my first course, I chose the chicken tortilla soup. Given the name, I was expecting some sort of creamy, Tex-Mex goodness. I was definitely surprised when I got something reminiscent of an Indian curry! There was fenugreek, tomatoes, green onions, corn, avocado and tortilla chips. I quite liked it, although I would have made a slight change - add the tortilla chips later on so that they remained crunchy. 

Yes, all three of us started with the soup. Runs in the family, some might say!
For the main meal, my sister and I settled on the sesame chicken, while our mum went for the tikka chicken. The presentation of both of these was quite lovely. The only weird thing was that the restaurant forgot to give a spoon for the tikka until prompted. 

The sesame chicken had a lovely flavour, although I detected more honey, soy and pepper than sesame. The spice level was perfect too! Unfortunately, I think the chicken was a wee bit overcooked, as it was a little bit tough - as was the rice. 

The tikka chicken was a pleasant surprise. It had a creamy tomato base, and was not overpoweringly spicy. Different than tikka chicken in most Nairobi restaurants, but different in a nice way. 

Tikka chicken with naan and rice

Sesame chicken with rice

For the dessert, we decided to get one of each and share - a sticky toffee pudding, the molten chocolate cake and a sorbet. 

This was EASILY my favourite course of the meal!! The sticky toffee pudding was amazing, and I need to return for it. While the molten chocolate cake wasn't exactly... well, molten... it was still good, and not sickeningly sweet. Perhaps a different name would have served the dish better? The sorbet was delightfully refreshing on the warm January night, and unless I'm very much mistaken, was a mix of strawberry and tree tomato. 

Overall experience? The service was fast and friendly, and the ambience was nice too. The food could've been better overall, though. I'm willing to give it another shot for the food - as I said earlier, I've been to Ventana once before, and loved what I ordered then.

Have any of you been to Ventana yet? If so, what was your experience?

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