The Other Room restaurant, set in the Social House hotel in Nairobi, is worth slogging through slow-moving traffic in the Lavington suburb to partake of its meals.
We came in for a late lunch at the ground-floor restaurant situated by the poolside. It has both indoor and outdoor seating and is open from breakfast to dinner. The restaurant’s unusual name harks back to the construction phase of the hotel when the space was a storage area before being turned into an eatery.
We sat on high cocktail tables, the elevated position giving us the best views of the swimming pool. Music played in the background. Scandinavian style furniture with clean lines, sharp angles and smooth finishes gave a stylish feeling to the place.
The Other Room's menu includes cuisines from Europe, Asia, South America and Kenya. All meals are served a la carte.
We opted not to have a starter. A popular appetiser are the tequenos. These are Venezuelan-style mozzarella cheese sticks wrapped in flaky pastry, deep fried and served with a guacamole dip.
Our food was rather long in coming, but the wait was worth it. I enjoyed my barbecued Peruvian baby chicken with onion rings and a garlic-flavoured aioli mayonnaise sauce.
All the main courses come with a choice of potatoes, rice, sautéed vegetables, a garden salad, roasted butternut or Latino patacones — twice fried slices of crunchy plantains. I chose the saucy chips as my starch, potato wedges coated in a sweet chilli sauce, plus a side portion of creamy mushroom spinach.
My lunch companion had grilled tilapia on a bed of spinach along with the saucy fries. A glass of chilled white wine accompanied our meal. Social House has an extensive list of European and new world wines, and on Wednesdays you get a free glass with every two glasses that you order in The Other Room.
The meat platter for two people is popular and includes a rib eye steak, pork ribs, chicken wings, goat shank, baby chicken cooked Peruvian style, onion rings and a garden salad. Executive chef Anibal Torres Diaz is from Peru, which explains the Latin American influence on the menu.
Another famous dish is the goat shank that is slow-cooked for 24 hours in a coriander sauce and served with yellow chilli risotto. I was pleasantly surprised to find that they use aged beef for their pizzas and double decker hamburgers.
There are meatless options like the vegetable pesto pasta, four-cheeses pizza or a mushroom pie in a vol-au-vent puff pastry. Or you can share a Mezze platter which has carrot hummus, moutabal aubergine dip, labneh Greek yoghurt, grilled halloumi cheese, olives and pita bread pockets.
Their dessert menu is a selection of rich cakes and pastries. I had the nutty chocolate brownie served with berries and a scoop of ice cream.
The Social House serves their own brand of coffee using beans bought from Kenyan farmers. They roast and grind them in a commercial roastery in the lobby cafe, the rich aroma wafting through the hotel. An Americano was my choice after a delicious lunch, with a little milk on the side.