In Summary
  • Following the installation of a new chef and a couple of other administrative changes, Ventana’s menu was overhauled in such big ways that even for a regular like myself, it was nearly unrecognisable.
  • An enormous booklet with trendy typefaces and quirky tag lines has everything under the sun from curries to grilled meats, salads to soups, wraps to oven baked meals.

The apartment hotel craze in Nairobi came with it the addition of some formidable players in the food service industry. Chief among them is Ventana Restaurant housed in Bidwood Suites Hotel on the corner of Karuna and Lower Kabete Roads in Westlands.

Home of the best potato chips in town, this unassuming establishment has been consistent with their delivery of sensibly priced, quality food offerings since I first discovered it nearly two years ago. For this reason alone, Ventana is among my top 15 best world cuisine spots in the city. Note however, that if you are looking for gastronomic grandeur, you might want to try elsewhere. The food is great but the options are generally conservative in their crafting.

Following the installation of a new chef and a couple of other administrative changes, Ventana’s menu was overhauled in such big ways that even for a regular like myself, it was nearly unrecognisable. An enormous booklet with trendy typefaces and quirky tag lines has everything under the sun from curries to grilled meats, salads to soups, wraps to oven baked meals. There’s a large selection for vegetarians, a hint of Italian, spots of Levantine cooking and lots of Indian options. One even finds the middle class’ staple of ugali and nyama choma! Their moussaka, which could only be described as sublime is no longer listed but I was happy to see that the signature whiskey and mustard crusted pork chops still graced the menu.

Cold and famished, the prawn masala curry leaped at me from the pages, and so it was that shortly after being sat at a table on the sheltered terrace, I was wolfing down the fleshy sea creatures which came with a number of delectable trimmings. These included salsa, raita (Indian yoghurt based condiment), the oh so crunchy iconic Ventana chips and naan so soft it tore without fuss and literally found its own way down my gullet without much prompting. Raita serves as a cooling agent with which to temper the effects of spicy Indian curries and is one of the most genius condiments I have ever known in my foodie years.

Being late on a weeknight, I fought every impulse to order a drink from the liquor menu and settled on a brownie vanilla milkshake which absolutely blew my mind. Word to the wise though: if you do not have superior siphoning abilities, ask for a long handle spoon for when you reach the bottom or you might wreck your jaw. It is so thick and packed with blended brownie bits that even with a wide width drinking straw, it poses a slight hazard. While Ventana’s minimalist aesthetic might be understated, the dedication of both the kitchen and floor staff to the client is loud and inspires the utmost confidence. This continues to be a name to look out for!