At the Rivaan Centre, a tall building at the end of Muguga Lane off Brookside Drive in Westlands, the recently opened Sierra Burger and Wine was buzzing with activity.
Guests were milling around, some of them sipping out of tall glasses of cold, frothy Sierra beer at the bar, while others sat around the tables. Sierra Burger and Wine thrives on simplicity done in excellence.
We had the chance to experience this two weekends ago at their soft opening: from the clean lines making up the interior of the space, to the all black upholstery (and matching all-black staff uniforms), to the food menu of three categories— starter and salads, burgers, and dessert.
We began with a starter course of oysters and chicken wings. The classic French mignonette came as a tray of six raw oysters with minced onions, garlic and chives set on a bed of ice, and a bowl of red vinegar on the side.
A yet to be acquired taste amongst my companions and me, the best way to describe it is that it tasted like the ocean: there was something about the flavour that casts one into memories of sitting by the Indian Ocean and listening to the waves crash on the shore.
We also sampled the BFF and Rockefeller oysters, which were cooked and both came creamy with tastes of cauliflower and spinach respectively.
The chicken wings were sticky and delicious, a perfect example of how Sierra takes classic, simple items and adds its own delicious taste to them.
Cooked in soy sauce with tomato, green chilli and ginger, and topped with a few swirls of blue cheese dressing, they were devoured almost as soon as the bowl landed on the table.
Next, we had the burgers. Sierra burgers are made of a beef patty topped with one or two light fillings before it is enveloped in bread that they make fresh for the burgers.
Its sparseness allows one the room to focus on the delicious Angus beef within, which is sourced specially from a farm in Timau. I had the blue cheese burger; the blue cheese’s flavour was a subtle complement to the patty, which was dripping with juice. The beer battered onion rings inside the bun added a delectable crunch to each bite.
For dessert, I tried Sticky Toffee Pudding. It was moist and covered in a deliciously sticky drizzle of rum and caramel sauce and had a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
The whole while, we sampled their beers and wines, the latter which is comprises exclusively of South African wines.
I sipped on glasses of the Kanonkop Kadette, a mellow dry red with a fruity notes.
For the record, several glasses later and a full night of sleep, and I woke up bright and early the next morning without even a hint of a hangover.
Beyond the dining area, stands a room marked the Kitchen Table. Through the windows you catch glimpses of the chef at work.