When I heard through my network of food lover friends that Sierra Craft Brewery had expanded their enterprise to include a new gourmet burger house in the Westlands area of Nairobi, I was ecstatic. For years now, the brand’s flagship brasserie at Yaya Centre has been my preferred rendezvous for all business and social engagements despite the odd disappointment once in a while. From their modernist cuisine to their high manufacturing standards and excellent staff training, the Sierra name is for me representative of the kind of dependability in the food and beverage industry which is so deeply lacking in many places.
Rivaan Centre on Muguga Green Road is a particularly unremarkable office building in a remarkably uninteresting part of Westlands, which left me wondering about the wisdom of this choice for the new restaurant which is dubbed Sierra: Burger and Wine. Being fairly new, most of the spaces in the block remain unoccupied and until you get to the floor with the restaurant, it is largely a ghost town. The portal into Sierra maintains a clean and elegant profile and leads to the indoor dining area which feels like a marriage of casual steakhouse and industrial pub. The host on duty was wonderful and gave me a tour of the extended patio area before asking where I preferred to be seated. Naturally, I chose to sit in the outdoor area and selected a table by a power outlet but was upset to find that the sockets didn’t work. Resigning myself to the fact that I would not be able to use my laptop, I ordered the signature Sierra Platinum beer and settled in to look at the menu.
As I wasn’t very hungry, none of the burgers – delightful as they sounded – were an option, so I settled for one portion each of chicken wings and braised beef spring rolls. This after I got excited about the oysters which were not available because the darned general election had caused angst amongst the seafood suppliers.
Reeling from that inconvenience, I was well surprised by the alternative options I made. The piping hot winglets were tantalising despite having close to no flesh, but nothing could have prepared me for the spring rolls. Best I ever had in my time. The pastry was crisp and without a trace of grease with perfectly seasoned filling. It also helped that the beef was of superior quality and when coupled with the accompanying mushroom truffle sauce, blew my mind.
After inhaling my food and using my fingers to clean up any residue of sauces left on the plates, I had a gin based cucumber cocktail and all was well with my soul. If it were not for dinner plans later that evening, I definitely would have ordered a burger to take home for later but chose to save that for my return visit which is going to be sooner rather than later.