Nairobi News


A bland experience at Sierra

Sierra – Yaya Centre, off Arwings Kodhek

Usually, I like Sierra. It’s quieter than a bar but loungey enough for a good night – the restaurant is on the top floor, and the lounge is at the first level, with an outside seating area for anyone who feels like a smoke.

It’s more or less convenient, though what is most convenient is that they open till midnight. In addition, they offer alcoholic drinks at reasonable prices; their in house Sierra beer is 200 KES a glass, and it is quite good.

When I first started going to Sierra a couple of beers – sorry, years, ago, their menu did not look like it does today. The revamping brought a lot of new additions to the menu, but the kept the classic old is gold meals, like their steaks (with that delicious mushroom sauce) and the burger.

But the look and feel of the menu is the same – classy, affordable and sleek, just like the easily calm grey and red décor.

I went to Sierra on a weekday for one for the road. Along with our beers, we also ordered a Surf Platter while waiting for the rest of our party to arrive.

When we tried to order wine from the list on the normal menu, we were told that those wines are not offered anymore, and given a more extensive list.

After we practised bad decision making and took 20 minutes to decide what wine to have, weighing cost, quantity and palate, the waiter then felt that this was the appropriate time to inform us that most of the wines there were not being served that night because of Lent.

But what does Lent have to do with serving wine in a commercial establishment? And why weren’t we told this before we had spent time looking at said menu? And why was Lent being imposed on us? The waiter had no answer.

The surf platter, as you can conclude from the name, is a platter of bitings with food from the sea: prawns, calamari, fish, the like. It cost 1800. The fish was rather bland, though the tartar sauce accompanying it was nice; I am told the chillied version is much tastier. T

The calamari looked far too much like an actual mini-octopus’ tentacles, with suckers and everything; I suppose I like my calamari to not look like calamari? To top off the average eating experience, one of our party was refused admittance to Yaya Centre (at about 10:30 pm) as they claimed Sierra had closed.

But we were sitting in Sierra…and the waiter refused to ring the watchmen to let the man through, saying that it wasn’t their problem. But this was their customer? And were they not open? We were very confused. He was eventually let in because we said he was paying the bill…

Though brief, I did not enjoy my experience at Sierra, and if I go back, I will definitely not be going past 8 nor will I expect the service to be sterling…

In other news, Nairobi Java House has once again raised their prices with no value add. It is terrible, really, what they are doing to the place. If Java is supposed to be the halfway point between, say, Psys and Art Caffe, they are edging awfully close to Art Caffe prices.

A burger is now 600, is it? They have redone their menus now, and added a few more bitings like chicken wings, but the only change I see as worth it is the change in the milkshakes – they have switched up the ice cream that they use to make them, and the improvement is marked. 350 for my favourite, the chocolate chip cookie milkshake, is a steep price I am willing to pay for a well done milkshake.