A tale about tacos, avocados and liquor
What do you think T stands for? Tezzanine floor, perhaps?” My sister just looks at smiles and me. She is used to my ‘thought-provoking questions’ that I take so much pride in.
We are headed to Mercado, which happens to be on the T-floor option on the lift at Kenrail Towers in Westlands, Nairobi, to try out their new menu.
We arrive and promptly order cocktails, which are touted as the best in Africa in the 2019 World Luxury and Spa Restaurant Awards.
On nights when we do not want to eat heavy foods, we usually order different appetisers such as tacos, tamales, tostadas and quesadillas, then share them.
Today is not one of those nights, so we order the fried avocado taco, which comes in threes.
I am keen on the lamb shank mole as my main while my sister orders a barbecue chicken roll breast.
We sip on our cocktails as we await for the tacos, which arrive a few minutes afterwards, complete with a set of dips. Angela, our hostess, asks us if she can make a guacamole in front of us.
The avocados look healthy and free from psychological trauma and feelings of inadequacy as their green ensures they belong firmly to the popular gang in their class.
She makes short work of mixing the avocado, lime and tomatoes and serves it in a beautiful bowl.
I promptly dig into the guacamole with the tortilla chips and savour the crunch of the latter against the creamy tartness of the former.
The fried avocado taco is a revelation for me, with the batter adding texture to the fruit while my chosen hot sauce adds an extra layer of heat.
Our main dishes arrive soon after, with compliments from the chef. “Most Mexican dishes are made with avocados. Or served with a side plate of guacamole,” Chef Raul Martinez says, adding,
“The lamb shank mole is interesting as it is made up of 25 different ingredients while the lamb is slow-cooked for 10 hours. I cannot wait for you to try it.”
I take that as my cue to dig in. The lamb is tender; the mole sauce gives it a rich taste that defies description, but is a song for my taste buds. I polish it all off.
I proceed to steal a slice of chicken breast roll from my sister’s plate. Who knew that chicken breast rolled in bacon would taste so good? Those who said bacon goes with everything were onto something.
We then order dessert as no matter how full you are, it is a family rule that you have to waddle through dessert. The rhubarb pie with pink meringue comes with a ‘break me’ inscribed on it.
Like the kid who could never resist the red fire alarm buttons especially if they had a notice urging people to not press them, I break the meringue.
Round of cocktails
A soft creamy cake lies beneath the meringue with strawberries and whipped cream. My date’s bailey mousse arrives in a cocktail glass with chocolate shavings, cookie crumble and chocolate toppings.
Suffice it to say, I polish off both desserts. After all, there is nothing like too much sugar in my vocabulary. We then proceed to order a few more Jamaican Margaritas infused with hibiscus flowers.
We stare at the expansive menu, wondering which of the more than 50 new items we should try next. We love most of the original offerings and I am fond of fried ice cream.
Our bill soon arrives and we are glad we do not have to break the bank so long as we do not make a habit of doing this daily.
But there is no day like today, so we order another round of cocktails and stare at the Westlands traffic. I start to wonder … could I still press a fire alarm bell if it had a ‘don’t press me’ sign on it today?