Nairobi notebook

Jackson Biko is our man about town

NairobiNotebookHow do you like your meat? Do you like the subtle taste of blood on it? Or do you prefer it slightly charred? Perhaps you like to pull at it with your teeth, your neck muscles straining with this juicy carnivorous task? Maybe you prefer to approach it in a prim way with your steak knife? Whatever. You are in the land of nyama choma now, and we don’t fuss how you like your meat. Or even where you have it. Here are my five most precious places to have your meat while you are in the city.

1 Tatu Restaurant, Fairmont The Norfolk
It’s a bit of a science for these guys. They have a farm – The Morendat Farm in Naivasha – that breeds a cross of Aberdeen Angus and Borana cattle. The steak they eventually serve is unique to the restaurant. A Morendat Platinum range, it’s thick (300gms) and has its juices well retained for that flavour.
Tel: +254 20 226 5000

2 The Hemingway, Nairobi Brassiere
Forget the view of Ngong Hills for a minute. The steer is also from Morendat Farm, but a cross breed of Aberdeen Angus, Borana and Simmental cattle fed for 180 days on a mix of corn and specially prepared silage. The meat is stored in a cold room for 21 days to relax it some more, before they cut it up themselves. Cooking happens in a Josper oven that uses charcoal to temperatures up to 800 degrees. The result? Charred on the outside and juicy on the inside.
Tel: +254 20 2295013

3 Mercury, The Junction
They do it differently at Mercury. They get their steers from Farmer’s Choice. They get it from Farmer’s Choice because they say their cuts are consistent. You always get what you are paying for. The meat is marinated for 24 hours and then served with one of their many sauces; rosemary jus, red wine sauce, mushroom and pepper or blue cheese sauce.

4 Sevens Grill, Village Market
First you may want to know that the restaurant is owned by Kiran Jethwa, a celebrated chef – he of the Bush Ladder series, which you might catch on National Geographic. Which means you are in for a treat.  Unlike most restaurants, they buy their meat aged 14 days, then hold it for a further 7 days in their display ageing cold room, visible for all customers to see. This creates a deeper flavour and tenderises the meat more. As you watch, their butcher will cut your meat to whatever size in their open kitchen. The beef is then cooked in their display charcoal grill. You get to sit before the grill and watch all this magic unfold, which heightens the culinary experience.
Tel: 0737 776677

5 Olepolos
Olepolos has been around since man discovered he could eat meat. If you have to eat meat then you have to have it with the Maasai. So you drive about an hour out of Nairobi, to Olei Polos. The drive there is picturesque.  Olepolos balances on a cliff. The view beyond is breathtaking. Point to a goat and a Maasai will fell it with a knife (you don’t have to watch). It will be skinned and roasted. Then it will be served with ugali and kachumbari and washed down with a beer.
Tel: +254 722 580268