Lifestyle, Reviews

A multi-sensory journey with African cuisine in a Nairobi restaurant

February 20, 2018

Sa’ani African Bistro opened its doors officially in January 2017 in Nairobi, Kenya. Sa’ani comes from a Swahili word, Sahani that means plate or dish. Where, Sa’ani instead of Sahani was just a simple, playful yet brilliant word play which also represents the way in which the local dishes would be prepared, with a twist.

As you walk into the restaurant, you will be serenaded by soft instrumental jazz music pumping through the speakers and art collections by a local photographer that mellows the mind. To the immediate right of the entrance there is an executively furnished space used as a waiting area if the restaurant is full to capacity, which also leads to the outside garden. It is ideal for those that want to sit in the airy space while enjoying the famous Nairobi sun while indulging in some green scenery with a cold beverage of choice.

To the right, the key focus happens to be the gorgeous bar area which is lit in blue hues and filled with a wide selection of alcohols ranging from wines to vodkas and other tongue soothers such as Sauvignon Blancs, Bacardi, Grey Goose, Absolute Vodka and Johnny Walker Gold Reserve.

Opposite the bar is a pathway where the dining area lies hidden to the left, the kitchen to the right and a private boardroom completely opposite to the bar. The contemporary fine-dining area has an elegant and tasteful setting fit for the modern spin on the local dishes, which was impressive.The informal setting has a British charm and large windows overlooking the private garden. A perfect background when indulging a glass of Arniston Bay Shore Red wine, which is fruity and quite mellow, pairs perfectly with barbecued pork ribs.

Paying keen attention to service, the chef, the talent behind the modern, detailed, a la carte menu who often steps out of the kitchen to greet his guest and share his food world and delicacies on the menu. The popular bitings which comprise of bacon and leek samosas, mushroom and mozzarellas samosas, chicken wings and their Swahili style fish fingers, while the popular signature meals include the whole fish with plantain bhajia, kienyeji (free-range) chicken with coconut and chili broth.

One of the highly recommended choices by the chef is the Kakamega Express, free range half a chicken braised in celery and carrots, then pan fried in lemon grass, almond, peanut-butter paste, with tomatoes, onions and garlic, crispy arrowroots and scotch eggs. This meal is mouthwatering, saucy and so tender with the flavors oozing out gently. Another of his favorite dishes is the Nduboine Ribs pork ribs (hand-picked at the famous Nduboine pork market by the Chef himself) with sliced apple and bhajia plantain with a sweet and sour sauce on the side. This together made a wonderful combination of textures and flavors – and a visual delight.

Desert cannot be avoided. It would be sacrilegious to not  end the meal in a divine way. The Mnazi (coconut) white chocolate mousse dessert is served with a delicious Malibu infused tuille. It is beautifully set, velvet smooth and a wonderful fusion of the chocolate and coconut sweetness.

And of course, one has to crown such a day with a cocktail from the in-house mixologist who created Vine Clash cocktail a mixture of brandy, orange juice, pineapple juice and rosemary. The cocktail was a mini work of art; carefully mixed, perfectly balanced and beautifully presented. Definitely, if you’re a cocktail aficionado this is your new home. Hurry up and move in!Sa’ani uses the Sahani very well to keep your taste buds happy.

Images by Cynthia Mundia


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