Waiters mill around me as they prepare to host a birthday party later on in the evening. Soft slow jazz music plays in the background in contrast with the activities going on in the restaurant. The waiters are quite attentive, as no sooner am I seated than one parts from the sea of them to attend to me. I order a dawa, which arrives almost immediately, accompanied by warm bread and some garlic butter.
I gorge on this and a bird’s eye view of Lavington. I am at Adega Restaurant, Lavington Curve branch, which is a part of a South African franchise that specialises in making affordable Portuguese dishes.
Once I gobble up my dawa, I order chicken espetada and fries. The chicken espetada is simply grilled chicken pieces skewered with pickled onions and green peppers. It comes beautifully presented, that for a few minutes I am unsure of how, why or where to attack it from. The chicken cubes are quite tender and flavourful on their own. When taken with a bite of the skewered green pepper and onions, sumptuous does not begin to describe them. I am a firm lover of well done fries, those with a hard golden brown finish and a soft inside. The Adega fries are exactly that.
Once my plate is mostly clear – the portions are so huge that even I cannot completely finish them – I order banana flambé for dessert. Much to my delight, a show kitchen is brought in and the flambé is made from scratch complete with instructions and interesting tidbits from the dessert chef herself. It is then topped with vanilla ice cream and chocolate chips. It is quite the experience to watch a dish being prepared from scratch to garnish, to mouth, moreover, without explicitly asking for it. Had I not already been sold on a repeat visit, this just does that. — Njeri Maina