Monday, April 5, 2010

Sierra Lounge Bar & Brasserie

Yesterday we finally made it to Church for Easter Sunday Service at 8:30am! After Church we decided to go home and relax for an hour or so and then headed out for our Easter Lunch at Sierra Lounge, located on the third floor at Yaya Center.  Sierra Lounge at Yaya is the second installment from founder, Alan Murungi, who is the brains behind the Sierra Lounge Bar & brasserie on Mombasa Road by Panari Sky Center.  it's the first microbrewery in East & Central Africa and boasts beer production made from pure barley malt, with no additives or substitutes!  According to Sierra's website,their beer production also follows the German Purity Law. I'm not a fan of beer but I am a fan of purity and authenticity when it comes to food or drinks!

 The entrance is on the same level as the Food Loft and that is where the first floor of the lounge is located.  Two hostesses directed us to the stairwell because the actual restaurant (or brasserie) is located on the upper floor.  My first thought about the d├ęcor was clean, classic and airy. The color palette is grey (floor, carpet, and seats), white (tablecloth, tableware, walls) and red (paintings).  All wait staff are clad in black shirts, pants and tie.  Even the bar has a minimalistic nature to it because the drinks are lined up at counter height.  When seated you only see three quarters of a bottle and to me that suggests that the alcoholic beverages are secondary to the food at the Yaya location.  Everyone says I have to go to the one on Mombasa Road...that one, the beer sets the stage for everything as you can see the stainless steel mash tuns that brew/hold the beer.

After we were seated I sent out a silent prayer of thanks to the chair gods (my chronic back pain has wrecking havoc on my general well being and most restaurant seats are not made for lounging). At Sierra my backside is very welcome – the suede club chairs are roomy, soft and comfortable.  If you have some junk in your trunk, their chairs will more than accommodate you!  Okay, enough about comfort, is the food any good and how much is it going to set me back? 

Sierra has a one page menu that’s divided into Starters & Platters, Main Courses and Kenyan Steaks (Beef from Nanyuki and aged 21 days).  As I am now fully vegetarian, my first concern when I looked at the menu was whether they had any Vegetarian options.  They had 3 options and I went for the Vegan Platter which was Vegetable Tempura, Thai Curry Skewers and Cajun Wedges for 1000/-($13).  The platter was a generous serving and Jonathan ended up helping me finish it (the boy can eat 10000 calories and not gain an ounce!) The Thai Curry drenched skewers had broccoli, red pepper, sweet potato and zucchini – you will absolutely love the curry (its sweet not hot)!  The Cajun wedges are skin-on potato wedges very lightly dusted with what I imagine is their version of Cajun seasoning.  They used a quality potato so they were really good.  Although I love veg tempura, this version was just so-so.  I usually mix a lot of spices in my tempura batter but this one was bland – I’m thinking it might be because the dish is classified as “Vegan” which omits a lot of the regular everyday spices.  My meal was accompanied by two bottles of Keringet chilled sparkling water totaling 200/- ($2.56).

Jonathan, the carnivore, ordered the Sirloin Steak with Truffled Mushroom Sauce and Chips (French Fries) for 1200/- ($15).  He ordered the steak “medium” and when he tasted it, he said it was softer than it looked and rated it 7 out of 10 due to lack of seasoning and incorrect sauce pairing.  He used a small amount of the Truffled Mushroom Sauce but he wasn’t crazy about it.  He had tasted the Thai Curry and really liked it so we asked our waiter (Shadrack) whether the curry I had on my veggies could be used for the steaks and he responded affirmatively!  The Chips that came with his steak were presented like the “Jenga” game blocks and were piping hot and dusted with a seasoning salt.  Jonathan beverage of choice was a glass of Sierra Blonde beer ($2.30).   We didn’t order dessert or coffee so our total damage for the entire meal was 2580/- (approx $33). 

In my opinion this is a nice, quiet, grown up eatery.  For moms and dads, this is not a kid-friendly place because the only meal I see a kid eating here is the Fish & Chips (800/-).  Of course if your child has a sophisticated palette by all means try it but don’t say I didn’t warn you! Also, if the management is going to the trouble of creating vegetarian and vegan options, please consider the same for the desserts.  If you are vegan, you’ll have to skip the desserts and if you are like me, a lactard (lactose intolerant) desserts are also out as well because 99% of the desserts have ice-cream or a dairy product in them.  All in all, an enjoyable eating experience.  I would rate it as *Good*.

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