When you walk into Emerald Garden hotel you are welcomed by a calm and tranquil scene reminiscent of an ancient Chinese royal court area. From the wooden floors and the open restaurant setting to the bridge that goes over a still pond that connects the restaurant to its bar, the ambiance is one of peace and serenity. Our host, Mr Priyan Kolapara warmly welcomed us to his establishment and gave us a brief introduction to what Chef Christopher Lewis had prepared for us.
The starters included prawn spring rolls, stuffed chicken and vegetable gyoza (dumplings), sweet and spicy Bangkok chicken wings and a richly flavoured papaya salad. The highlight of the starters was the lamb barbecue for not only being delightfully tender but also exquisitely delicious especially thanks to the garlic sweet chilli soy sauce it was served with that had us begging the chef for its recipe. All of these were paired with a strawberry basil mojito that has to be one of the best mojitos I have had the pleasure of sampling followed by a playfully spicy Nina’s Chilli Martini cocktail which warmed us up just right given how cold it was.
Next up the chef decided to serve us hot Tom Kha soup (Thai coconut soup) between our well earned break before delivering the main courses. To say we were already impressed and relatively full would be quite the understatement.
Before long the main courses arrived starting with beef wok fried Thai style with cashewnuts and oyster sauce, followed by spicy green curry chicken and yellow curry beef. Both curries were among the favourites of the afternoon with the subtle yellow curry emphasizing the rich beef flavour and the spicy green curry with chilli, peppers and coconut complementing the diced chicken breast. The mains were concluded with baby pak choi (Chinese cabbage) and pad thai chicken (Thai style fried rice noodles with chicken). As if the courses were not marvelous on their own, they were paired with a cool kiwi collins (Similar to a kiwi mojito) with fresh kiwi fruit in them.
Sweet & Spicy Bangkok Chicken Wings
During the course of the meal I had the pleasure of chatting with Chef Lewis who shared his plans to revolutionize the food and restaurant industry in Nairobi by combining local ingredients and flavours to create exquisite and refined dishes.
Our incredible afternoon culinary journey came to an end with a luscious, syrupy pineapple upside down cake and a delicious Thai mango black rice pudding paired with an espresso and kahlua martini. At this point, I mentioned to our host that I would definitely be returning to the restaurant in the near future and he graciously informed me that on my next return I could take advantage of their express lunch offers that range from one course for Ksh 1,000 to two courses for Ksh 1,200 or three courses for Ksh 1,800. Be sure to give them a try for yourself if you wish to treat a date, take the family out or simply dine like royalty as we did.