Food & Drinks

Tapas, Paella … Nairobi Orders Spanish Food

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Paella valenciana with prawns calamari chicken fish. PHOTO | COURTESY

Nairobi is slowly embracing Spanish food as diners easily order from tapas, quesadilla de pollo to coca catalana as if they are staples that they grew up eating.

At La Mesa restaurant on the 15th floor of Movenpick Hotel in Nairobi, I sat at a corner with a menu that had paella, nachos to croquetas.

Soft Latino music played in the background as the server explained the dishes. For starter, I had Quesadilla De Pollo, which is chicken quesadilla with roasted peppers, corn, green chillies and cheese.

Translated to mean “little cheesy thing”, these stuffed cheesy snacks are made with tortilla bread, then the fillings are added and once the cheese melts, it is then folded in half.

Crispy on the outside and soft on the inside with a perfect medley of the flavours, I could not get enough of this dish.

Seafood and vegetable paellas followed. It was served in bowls for sharing. This Valencian rice originates in the mid-19th century and is Spain’s national dish.

The seafood paella includes; calamari, prawns, chicken and fish. The fluffy yellow rice dish is a common find at Spanish restaurants in Nairobi.


Paella vegetariana with selected vegetables PHOTO | COURTESY

Different versions

It can be served in different versions where it is topped with various ingredients such as red peppers and loaded with everything from shrimp to chicken to lobster. Prepared with a special short-grained rice, paella has a unique taste.

The coca catalana was my next meal. This is a pizza-like flatbread topped with cheese, mushrooms and tomatoes.

Placed on a wooden board, it arrived at the table oozing with cheese and not really looking as delicious as it was.

The taste was somehow similar to the Kenyan pizza.

After indulging in what seemed to be a cheese-filled dinner, it was time for dessert.

I ended the culinary trip to Spain with an almond cake, an airy pastry for dessert.

The dessert menu had churros, almond cake, blueberry cheesecake and eggless chocolate cake.