By Ahmad Sulieman
Concealed inside Wasini Luxury Homes on a quiet side street on Raphta road a gem of a restaurant waits to be discovered. As you walk in you cannot help but feel you’ve just stumbled onto an oasis; the heat coupled with the constant traffic melee that we’ve resigned ourselves to seem to evaporate as you take in the lush vegetation and even a palm tree or two. The restaurant which is cocooned by the luxury apartments has managed to make the space available work in its favour. Immediately your attention is drawn to the poolside Moroccan style shisha area which plays onto the desert oasis theme that you can attribute to clever planning and design by the gregarious Director Valentina Kioko. Antique tables and sculptures complete the nomadic vibe; the ideal spot to unwind with a cocktail and a shisha.
On the patio upstairs where the main dining area is located, the wooden beams wrapped in sisal ropes and adorned with African carvings lend an air of rusticity to the space. Once you get past the quiet enjoyable murmurings echoing around the restaurant and to your table you can finally notice that the whole place is beautifully set up; it feels light, airy and spacious. We were greeted by the chef; (Chris Pieroni who at 22 years of age seemed somewhat young to be a head chef to some of us at the table) who was kind enough to ran by the menu and decipher the culinary jargon we were yet to acquaint ourselves with. Any doubts about his age were quickly dispelled when he enthusiastically launched into describing his dishes. His passion for food and Italian heritage should be adequate compensation for his youthful exuberance. To test the young chef’s mettle we kicked off with brushettas and potato croquettes with capers mayo; the grilled aubergine pickle brushetta proved to be a hit with everyone at the table. So far so good for the fresh-faced chef. We were careful not to over-do it with the starters because three main dishes were lined up for us. First up was the classic Italian dish of Linguine al Pesto Sardo, (sun dried tomato sauce and Genovese basil pesto for the rest of us) whose bold flavours were only matched by the generous portions. This is the kind of dish that most wannabe cooks will feel they can replicate at home but I doubt the outcome will be as exquisite as Chef Pieroni’s.
The next dish Pollo Ripieno (Stuffed chicken with pesto, sundried tomato & mozzarella, potato pancake with mushroom sauce) looked like it would take some effort to finish. We needed not to worry; this was one of those dishes that simply came together well. The chicken was expertly cooked with the mushroom sauce infusing the plate with flavour which was nicely finished with the crunchy potato pancake. Unfortunately when the next dish a coconut curry served with couscous arrived I had exhausted my appetite to be able to justly appraise the dish; it looked delicious though if that’s any consolation.
With Valentines Day around the corner I would be amiss if I did not recommend La Terrazza as the perfect setting for a romantic evening; if it looked this good during the day I can only imagine how it will be transformed to a romantic haven for couples to take full advantage of.