Sikia, is a word describing a range of human senses. It expresses the fusion of flavours, warmth, comfort, service and overall ambiance of an exquisite fine dining experience. Located at the Crowne Plaza Nairobi, in Upper Hill, it did not disappoint.
Guests are seated in plush armchairs, with tables set at a comfortable distance for romantic dinners or private business lunches. Original African themed paintings add a splash of bright colour contrasting the otherwise subtle and muted brown tones of the room.
Quiet instrumental music plays in the background, building on the atmosphere. Standing coat hangers are placed besides the tables, and a side table appears – almost magically – as soon as a lady hesitates in placing her handbag.
The service is professional, refined and unobtrusive. Settings are marked quietly for each course without a word, and serviettes are skill fully re-folded and replaced when a guest leaves the table mid-meal.
Shiny domed cloches cover the main courses, and are all removed in unison. The tables are expertly crumbled before dessert service, and the servers are clearly well trained on the menu.
Knowledgeable and confident, the service team facilitates a luxury and truly fine-dining experience.
Generous portions, quality ingredients, expert preparations, and careful presentation come together to make the meal worth its price for a splurge, and an excellent value for the money.
You an tell a lot about a restaurant by its chips. They were served piled high in an oval side dish, crispy on the outside and perfectly seasoned. Not overly oily or salty.
Even the side vegetables were cooked and seasoned to bring out the flavours of asparagus, baby corn, broccoli and carrots.
Something often treated as an afterthought, afforded the same care as the main courses. House-baked breads are served on a silver basket lined with scalloped edge linen with three types of butter: plain, paprika and garlic-parsley.
The fried Calamari arrived in a stack of thick rounds, lightly breaded and cooked to maintain the flavour and texture without getting too chewy.
A stacked Cobb salad included cubes of ripe and creamy avocado, chicken and prawns layered between slices of juicy tomatoes, with just the right amount of dressing and garnish of whole basil leaves and chives.
All the starters, including a traditional French onion soup with crusty bread and melted cheese, raised our expectations for the next course and set the bar for flavour and presentation.
A main course filet of salmon, ordered well done, was served as such but still moist, tender and flavourful. Surf and turf included huge and tasty jumbo prawns topping a thick steak cooked medium-rare.
Pork chops were spiced and juicy, served with the perfect complement of shredded red cabbage braised in honey and apple cider vinegar.
Desserts, from French pastry chef Marco Matteucci, are served in artful but not over-the-top presentations, and provide a perfect close to an excellent meal.
Tiramisu was light and full of espresso flavour, while a passion cheesecake, though more mousse-like than cheesecake, had a level of creaminess to balance the tartness of the passion fruit.
The Crown Chocolate, a crunchy deep chocolate concoction, is the signature dessert and the jewel in the crown. Nutella bread pudding, with its molten centre and coffee ice cream topping, was equally impressive and would be worth a visit in itself.