The brilliance and gleam of ‘Oro’ captivates every beholder. Meaning ‘gold’ in Italian and Spanish, I’m not talking about a physical piece of gold, but rather Oro Restaurant & Lounge, a relatively new watering hole in Nairobi’s burgeoning dining scene that has steadily captivated curious diners.
Oro is unshowy, but the intimate décor with subtle hints of gold exudes elegance. It looks fresh, plant-filled and cozy. The comfortable modern outdoor furniture seamlessly transforms the large patio into a beautiful and relaxing space. The staff are sparky and ever-so friendly.
The cooking is one-quarter upper-class British holiday hangout, one-quarter eclectic-chic, and half comforting-Italian. The food, service and atmosphere at Oro are as stately and calming as the neighborhood – one where you would least expect to find a restaurant. Located in the tranquil suburb of State House in Nairobi, Kenya, Oro offers a convenient escape from the urban bustle.
The first of the big-portioned dishes was the comforting bowl of Soup d’Oro (Kshs 550). The roasted red peppers were blended to a velvety and smokey treat, its viscosity perfect and aromas accentuated with star anise. Then there was the Barbadian Chicken (Kshs 650) with marinated chicken breast on a bed of couscous tossed with mango, red onions and a chili salsa. Perfect for health aficionados, the couscous was perfectly prepared – delicate and fluffy. The Oro Signature Salad (Ksh 1,950) featured beautifully-laid smoked salmon topped with cream cheese and caviar – an indulgence to the palate and the wallet, as reflected in its price.
My guests and I eagerly moved on to the Fusilli alla Salsiccia Piccante (Ksh 950). Seeing that the owners of Oro are of Italian ancestry, sampling some delicious and authentic pasta was the obvious thing to do. The good news is that the sausage sauce – creamy, smokey and spicy – was absolutely mind-blowing. The Sage Grilled Pork Chops (Kshs 1,800) in butter, sage and white wine sauce was tender and the flavours were not annoyingly overpowering. Served with potato mustard mash and one of my favourites – breaded cauliflower – pork admirers might just hit the jackpot at Oro.
Finishing off with creamy mascarpone and coffee-infused sponge fingers, Oro’s Tiramisu (Kshs 750) was expectantly good. However, the melted glob of Chocolate Lava Cake (Kshs 750) was the favourite. Rich and sinfully orgasmic, yes I used the “O” word, a visit to Oro is not complete unless you indulge in the Lava.
Oro is not exactly the cheapest place to eat. But with its elegance and quality, paying a little more sometimes is simply necessary. If the calming and beautiful ambiance is not enough to tempt you; Oro recently launched a new menu in May, one that was written by people who want to share their enthusiasms. Now, there’s really no excuse.