Exciting new menu at Lucca Restaurant, Villa Rosa Kempinski

When I heard that Chef Piero Lunghi of Lucca Restaurant at Villa Rosa Kempinski had a new menu, I was instantly inclined to call up the restaurant and make a lunch reservation. I once had a first date there and while that went nowhere, the food was absolutely fantastic and that kept me going back. When I discovered their Sunday Brunch offer a short while after, I was sold on this fine Italian establishment.

Driving up the gates of the grand hotel located right off Waiyaki way/Chiromo Road, I felt a little stab of nostalgia for I had been away from Nairobi for quite some time and hadn’t been within those striking soft-pink walls in about three months. Would this new menu retain some of my old favourites? Would my favourite waiter even be around? Oh, I was riddled with questions!

I needn’t have been anxious, however, because the ambiance remained largely unchanged and exactly as I liked it. I was greeted enthusiastically by a few familiar faces including that of Chef Piero himself, and it felt like a bit of a homecoming (I’m probably just being dramatic!). Moments later, I took a seat on the outdoor terrace and a menu was placed before me, and I proceeded to thumb through it with utmost curiosity. Yes, the menu does retain a lot of its signature dishes with several contemporary additions bound to please any lovers of Italian food. Upon request, any favourite that is no longer there can easily be whipped up for a patron.

I kicked things off with the Minestrone Dodici Verdure (Ksh 1 000), a classic Italian zuppa (soup) made of veggies, pennette pasta, sun dried tomatoes and parmigiano, accompanied by toasted garlic-butter bread. From the Insalata (salad) section, I ordered the Mona Lisa (Ksh 1 400). It was the perfect fresh blend of confit tomatoes, avocado, crunchy roasted peppers, balsamic onions, chicken and aragula. This was very healthy and perfectly filling too and can be had on its own as a main meal for lunch. I was however out to stuff myself savour a variety of items on the menu and proceeded to let Chef Piero recommend some dishes for the mains.

The menu is quite comprehensive and is sectioned into antipasti (appetizers), salads, soups, risotto (rice), vegetarian, pasta, carne (meat), pesce (fish) and pizza. Gluten free options are available and the service is really great. Not to worry if you are new to Italian food- the waiters can easily recommend suitable dishes based on whatever you’ll be craving. Be sure to try:

Pollo Al 3 Pepi (Ksh 1 700). This is roasted chicken breast on a thick sauce made of black, green and white pepper, and cream.

Filetto Alle Noci  (Ksh 1 850). For cheese lovers, this will be like having a party in your palate! Beef fillet on a rich Taleggio sauce with crumbled walnuts, asparagus and balsamic baby onions.

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Full menu: here.

To make your reservation, email dining.villarosa@kempinski.com/ reservations.nairobi@kempinski.com or call +254703049000

Opening Hours: Monday to Sunday from noon to 11:00pm.

Highly recommended: Sunday brunch. Full details here.

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