By DERRICK VIKIRU
Oh, Italian food! If you haven’t been to Italy yet, or you haven’t tasted Italian food then you need to visit the LUCCA restaurant at Villa Rosa Kempinski, Nairobi. Nothing compares to their homemade meal prepared by an Italian local in this restaurant, chef Carmine de Fillipo, the head Italian chef. Interacting with and listening to him explain the nitty gritty of preparing the meals, you’ll see that he actually put his heart into the delicious dishes.
I had a fine dining experience at this restaurant, tastefully furnished with a trattoria style surrounding and filled with tantalising aromas of home cooked Italian meals that really stimulate the taste buds. The restaurant has re-engineered its Italian cuisine and established new contemporary oriental ingredients including a variety of salads, pizzas, pastas, fish and seafood, and desserts. So, I was here for an authentic Italian experience from chef Fillipo’s team. Typical Italian dinners consist of several courses and different varieties of amazing food! Pasta, rice, meats, ham, anchovies and sumptuous doses of cheese. Let’s look into the different segments of the full course Italian dinner experience at Villa Rosa Kempinski and marvel at their delicious cooking!
Antipasto and primo
We started off with some Bruschetta, an antipasto made of grilled bread rubbed with garlic and topped tomato, mushroom and vegetables with olive oil and salt. This was followed by primo (first course) containing hotter and heavier dishes than the antipasto. It served Parma ham, salami Milano, mortadella bologna, Prosciutto cotto, Parmesan pecorino Romano cheese, marinated olives and grilled vegetables.
Meanwhile, a resident sommelier Silas paired all our food with wine, while explaining which wine should go with what food at what stage and at the same time, sharing fun facts about wines; while he kept refilling our glasses.
Then it was time for Secondo, the second course, which mainly comprised beef Bolognese sauce and grilled salmon fillet marinated in lemon, but in relative portions. This was accompanied with the goodness of fresh vegetables as a side dish. Before the secondo, chef Fillipo gave us a taste of pizza Napoletana, freshly baked (with a smear of tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese, a handful of basil leaves, a few drops of extra virgin olive oil as toppings), together with risotto rice and crispy breaded chicken breast with a creamy puttanesca sauce of anchovies.
There was a vegan option of dishes made of ravioli pasta with ricotta cheese, polenta and risotto gnocchi and vegetable broth that was served with sage-butter sauce.
It would not have been an authentic Italian meal if it did not end with a dolce, meaning dessert. This ranged from a simple fresh bowl of fruits, different cake and pie to more intricate desserts, such as zuccotto, Sicilian cassata, tiramisu and panna cotta. This was followed by pudding – a glass of Portuguese Muscatel sweet dessert wine to sweeten the palate.
Derrick Vikiru is the sub-editor Management Magazine. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org