The traditional idea of dining out was to enjoy food prepared by an invisible chef closeted behind several swinging doors. Gone are the days when chefs were confined in the kitchen and patrons never got to meet the star behind their stellar meals. Times have changed and now, we want more than just having food placed on the table and paying the bill when plates have been cleared. We now want to get into the culinary action and savour the experience in addition to exquisite dishes.
Chef’s tables, which are more popular in Europe and USA, have slowly found their way in Nairobi with a handful of restaurants providing the exclusive culinary experience to patrons. Carried out like private dining experiences, Chef’s tables are intimate and exciting where patrons get to watch the chef whip up their meals. While some tables are positioned in the main kitchen, others are situated separately with assigned servers and sometimes sommeliers as well. They allow patrons to focus on their food and company and also give them a chance to interact one-on-one with the heart of the restaurant-the chef. They also offer a fun experience where you get to learn the secrets behind the gastronomic masterpieces that you are about to eat. Furthermore, the chefs are now available for conversation outside the kitchen with patrons.
In Nairobi, more restaurants are including it in their service offerings. While most chefs’ tables have set menus, each restaurant offers a unique experience. Some restaurants that offer a chef’s table experience include; Pango Brasserie at Fairview Hotel, Sarova Stanley, Tatu Restaurant at Fairmont The Norfolk and Sierra Burger and Wine at Rivaan Centre, Westlands.
The recently opened Kitchen Table at Sierra offers a five course wine pairing dinner for its patrons with a seating capacity of eight people. It is situated inside main kitchen where patrons are guaranteed frontline seats of culinary action. Popularly loved for their meat, which they source from their own farm in Nanyuki, Sierra serves a variety of succulent steaks and seafood dishes.
“Our kitchen table concept is quite unique- our wine list is expansive with wines from different regions globally hence our chef’s table showcases wine pairing at its best. We pride ourselves in using local ingredients in all our dishes; we source our beef and lamb from our own farm and we also own a butchery so we process all our meat ourselves, the cream used in our ice creams is also sourced locally,” said Chef Allan Murungi who also owns Sierra Restaurant.
During the exclusive launch of the kitchen table, Chef Allan served up a remarkable and interactive five course wine pairing dinner. The dishes included tilapia tartare paired with the 2013 Bouchard Finlayson Blanc de Mer, crab bruschetta paired with the 2014 Dombeya Chardonnay, pan roasted loin of lamb paired with the 2013 Newton Johnson Full Stop Rock, slow grilled beef paired with the 2011 De Trafford Merlot, and grilled pineapple with lemongrass and chilli syrup, pistachio praline and coconut ice cream for dessert.
If you are looking for an unforgettable experience, one that will leave your taste buds wanting more, then you need to book the Kitchen table at Sierra. It is available for dinner every second Tuesday of the month for Ksh. 7,500 per person.