Outdoor ambience, great food and wine at Matteo’s Italian Restaurant characterized my first visit to Matteo’s Restaurant and Pizzeria in Karen, Nairobi.
It took me a while to find the rather obscure sign at the gate and it’s hard to tell from the main road that there is a restaurant behind the wall. Once I entered the restaurant, I understood why I didn’t recognize the place. The vast grounds were once a residence and a horse farm. Some barns have been transformed into an interior part of the restaurant.
My friends and I sat outside on the patio as it was a beautiful sunny day. White tablecloths and full cutlery brought an elegant look to the place, and large potted plants and a view of the garden created a relaxing ambience.
We started our meal with a typical Italian appetizer of focaccia bread topped with cherry tomatoes, pieces of mozzarella and arugula leaves. Drizzled with olive oil and a shake of black pepper, focaccia bread is a great way to whet your appetite.
For the main course, I chose the marinated grilled lamb chops, which may not look like a typical Italian meal. But in the highlands of Italy where sheep are raised, lamb is eaten more than any other meat. The chops were well seasoned, accompanied by a pepper sauce and sides of fries and creamy spinach.
One of my lunch mates opted for ricotta cheese and spinach ravioli in a creamy butter and sage sauce. It’s a simple and delicious Italian dish, especially with a generous sprinkle of Parmesan and ground black pepper. My other friend chose the grilled calamari with a lemon butter sauce which she really enjoyed.
On the menu, I saw that Matteo’s offers a wide choice of seafood dishes. Fritto misto is a combination of fried seafood, served with fries and vegetables. A thick fish soup made with tomatoes looks like a comforting option on a cold day and the crispy octopus with cream of potatoes piqued my interest.
The drinks menu offers a substantial selection of wines, cocktails, juices and fruit smoothies. For our lunch, we ordered a chilled rosÃ© wine which was light enough to pair with the main courses we chose.
I can rarely resist a good cheesecake so that’s what I had for dessert. Matteo’s makes a wonderful fluffy cheesecake topped with sliced ââstrawberries and a coulis sauce.
Due to the lovely garden, good weather and good wine, we ended up staying at Matteo’s until the early evening.
Due to Covid-19, Matteo’s had stopped its weekly jazz parties and live bands, but I understand that they have revived the events. I will definitely come back for that