Sale e Pepe: Cozy Italian tavern in Nairobi


Sale e Pepe Hilton Nairobi photographed by Susan Wong 2012

Red candle wax drips onto a re-purposed bottle of Merlot, traditional pizzeria red and white checkered linens drape the tables, wrought iron pots hang from the ceiling, and black and white portraits and colourful retro Italian posters decorate the blue-washed walls.  Sale e Pepe, or Salt and Pepper, is a cozy Italian tavern nestled inside Hilton Nairobi that transports diners to the warm richness of a pizzeria in Tuscany.

Original to the Hilton Nairobi since 1969, Sale e Pepe has been offering Italian specialties for decades.  The 6-month-old revamped menu features a diverse selection of classic Italian starters, such as Prosciutto with Melon; nine different pizzas baked fresh in their specialized oven; pastas and delicious desserts like the Chef’s specialty – Chocolate Mousse.

For starters, Capital Lifestyle enjoyed the lightly salted Fritto Misto and its crunchy light batter of the fried calamari, shrimps and Nile Perch.  The calamari was tender, the shrimps were sweetly fresh and the Nile Perch flaked to perfection.  The Prosciutto di Parma con Melone, was executed well with the light and refreshing flavours of the melon complementing the salty cured notes of thin shavings of Italian Prosciutto.  Dots of richly-flavoured Balsamic Vinegar Reduction around the plate pulled all of the flavours nicely.  The thinly shaved marinated beef tenderloins of the Carpaccio di Manzo ai Funghi, overpowered with salt, was the unexpected downer of the trio.

Next, the Lifestyle team sampled pasta’s little black dress – the classic Spaghetti alla Carbonara – grilled snapper with a caper and tomato sauce, and an oven-fresh pizza.  We were disappointed with the soggy spaghetti, which were clearly limp from being overcooked.  The rich silky carbonara sauce, however, was a delicious combination of cream, eggs, Parmesan cheese and bacon.  The capers and tomato sauce of the Filetto di Dentice was tangy with bright salty notes, but the grilled snapper was on the dry side.  Finally, our pizza with ham, bacon and cheese was saucy and delectable.

A Capital Lifestyle must-try would definitely be the Chocolate Mousse.  Rich with smooth Belgium chocolate, no cream and very little sugar, indulging in this thick yet light dessert is absolutely addictive.  Don’t be shy to lick the bottom of the glass vessel!

At Sale e Pepe, the team continues to champion Hilton’s known exceptional service.  Warm smiles, great conversationalists and swift, Sale e Pepe’s service was delightful and purposeful.

If you’re planning to sample Sale e Pepe’s specialties, Capital Lifestyle suggests that you head over there soon.  The Hilton Nairobi is due for a major facelift in 2014, which will see the iconic building and shopping arcade be completely refurbished, temporarily closing the famous restaurants of Hilton Nairobi.


According to Eat Out, an average meal at Sale e Pepe will cost around Sh 1,950 per person.  For location details, prices, and how you can book online – make sure you check out Eat Out Kenya! Check it out now!



Sale e Pepe Hilton Nairobi photographed by Susan Wong 2012

Beef carpaccio

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