I had lunch with a couple of awesome food bloggers to test out Pan Asian Yao’s new menu launch that occurred around the holiday season! #Feastcember! Their restaurant is located right beside the UN in Gigiri, Nairobi, and describes themselves as an Asian Fusion restaurant. Considering that their cuisine was so broad, the restaurant didn’t hold back on the number of sampled dishes! My palate was taken on a spin all around Asia (literally!)
Pan Asian Yao is one of the only restaurants in Nairobi with an Asian Fusion cuisine, which I thought was a great way for them to position themselves in the market.
Fun fact: They’re the sister restaurant to Nyama Mama! Once I heard that it’s safe to say I was pretty confident that we were in for a great experience. If you haven’t heard of Nyama Mama (what cave do you live in?!), but it’s one of the first restaurants in Nairobi that serve authentic Kenyan food with a contemporary twist. I wasn’t around in Nairobi for too long but, I still managed to go a couple of handful of times. Maybe, even too often!
Here’s a brief breakdown of some of my thoughts on the experience at their menu tasting coupled up with a few pictures of some of the meals we had!
As I mentioned, Pan Asian Yao’s is located right opposite the UN in Gigiri. Now, it isn’t necessarily an accessible location to get to as it’s a little bit further from the heart of the city, but it’s perfect for all the Runda folk and expatriates in the area, mainly because that seems it would be their ideal primary target audience.
The restaurant itself had the expected Asian ambiance to it, but they seemed to have paid particular attention to the overall structure of the restaurant which boosted the aura. What particularly stood out to me was the authentic Chinese architecture that surrounded the restaurant that without a doubt, made me feel like I was in a secluded part in Asia! Look at this picture and tell me I couldn’t lie and say I took a trip to China!
We tried a lot of different dishes, which ranged from appetizers, main courses, and dessert! All the dishes were all explosively flavorful and accurately reflected their rooted culture. Asian cuisine is made up of intensely flavored meals, yet there are all still significantly different from the other, based on their region. I was a little bit skeptical that the dishes may end up being too similar, but each meal referenced the area accurately with such seductive flavors! The Thai dishes were easily identifiable because of the underlying zesty flavors from the lime and lemongrass. Same with Japan with their subtle but flavorful sushi. It was the same with their curries, which had underlying tones of India and China. If you love Asian food as much as I do, this restaurant is a candy store for your palate!
It was tough to narrow down on my top three dishes, but if I had to pick it would be:
- Chili Garlic Shitake Mushroom! (pictured at the top, center)
The appetizer was made up of crispily fried shitake mushroom covered in a chili garlic sauce. It was mindblowing. After this dish, I have never looked at mushroom the same again!
- Green Chicken Curry served with white rice
This is one of my all-time favorite Asian dishes from Thailand, and Pan Asian Yao reminded me why I love it as much as I do! You can’t go wrong with the coconut, coriander and lime flavors. Loved it!
- Gin and Rosemary Cocktail
I’m a girl who loves me some cocktails! This cocktail was so surprisingly light and refreshing. Gin is a flavorful spirit of its own, which can get overwhelming, but combined with the rosemary! Wow! Move over Mint Mojitos! My taste buds were all around town! Of course, my body caught up too cause I had a few one too many!
Fair warning: This was one of those that cocktails that creep up on you, so be prepared for a bit of a spin!
The prices range from KSH 600 to KSH 1,700! I found this to be reasonable, considering that the chefs pay attention to their craft. From the presentation, ambiance, up to the authentic quality of the food! Check out the menu here!
I had a fantastic time at Pan Asian Yao and would go back in a heartbeat. I thought they did a great job with the overall experience. Plus I’m all for the restaurant scene in Kenya growing and glowing! I thought it was great that they made an effort to invite over food bloggers and other influencers in the food industry to give them feedback on their menu. I’m all about branding and paying attention to little things like those, and it shows that we’re moving up in that regard.