By Tricia Wanjala
Recently, we were at Jiko restaurant for dinner and the usual review. The menu is nice and simple in its layout. It was refreshing to find that the food names were simple and did not contain jargon.
I liked the inclusion of local dishes and names in the menu. It gives this rather swanky restaurant an unpretentious air and an appealing local flavour. The ambiance and interior décor is outstanding.
As for their food, everything they brought out gets top props. Chef Luca and his team are obviously in touch with their artistic side. The breadbasket brings no ordinary bread — each piece is created to form a sculptural shape with vastly divergent shapes and textures.
I had mine with hummus, which contained the perfect balance of chickpeas, tahini, garlic and olive oil.
The choice of background music was great. I enjoyed the nice eclectic variety of dinner music, which included Mekhlit Hadero, Diana Krall and some salsa. It was not too loud that you have to talk over it but loud enough so you can enjoy the beats.
The candlelit tables also made for a nice ambiance. Whenever our candle died out, the staff promptly replaced it. I appreciated the fact that they kept an eye on us so we did not have to struggle to get their attention, when we needed it.
My main course was Teriyaki salmon and my husband had the chicken mushroom black-eyed peas special. I tasted his chicken and found that the flavour, texture, and portion size were excellent.
I am very particular about salmon since I find it can be very bland when not properly marinated and seasoned. Jiko’s Teriyaki salmon did not disappoint.
The teriyaki sauce was thick, dark and translucent but not too overpowering.
I have had it twice at this restaurant and the first time it was a little too salty, but the second time it was perfect. Served on a bed of fresh, crunchy vegetables, it was just enough and very flavourful. The asparagus, broccoli, radishes and lentil sprouts that came with it were perfect for this vegetable-lover.
For dessert my husband ordered the chocolate ravioli, which we both thought, were just okay. I did not really like the doughy, Al dente texture since both pasta and dark chocolate are not really my favourite. Still, for pasta-lovers I hear this item is very popular.
My Tiramisu was creamy, sweet, light, airy and moist — just about perfect. The Baileys ice cream was heavenly, but then who would not love the combination of Baileys and Ice cream!
The prices on average come to about Sh2,500 per person for three courses and a drink. The servers are polite and helpful. A special mention goes to a gentleman named Rodriguez, who was extremely professional and interacted very well with both the guests and his colleagues.
He pulled out the chairs for the ladies, replenished the water in the drinking glasses, and even folded the napkins to a symmetrical triangle for a patron who’d stepped out. I was impressed by his attention to detail and politeness.
We thoroughly enjoyed our dining experience here, and left in a happy, mellow mood.