When white-gloved butlers arrive at your office with invites to a chef’s table at Sarova Stanley, you can’t help but prepare your appetite. This was how together with my three colleagues we ended up having an extraordinary experience at the Sarova Stanley’s Chef’s table.
Located inside the massive hotel kitchen, is the chef’s table, a cosy room that fits up to six people, perched on top of the kitchen with the massive glass wall allowing the view for busy chefs, preparing meals for all the restaurants within the hotel. On the front side of the room is a blackboard, with names the eight dishes we would be indulging in. With us is the General Manager at Stanley, Paolo Marro, and the Digital Executive at Stanley, Janet Gitau. The Executive Chef, Godfrey Ouda is the mastermind behind the menu. “Our Chef’s table does not have a set menu. We set the menu according to the clients’ tastes and preferences, therefore, every chef’s table menu is specially crafted for a unique experience,” he explains.
By this time, curiosity has taken over us and we just can’t wait to start. An aperitif bubble cocktail made with ingredients which could only be available in 1902 when the hotel was founded is presented to us in wooden cups. A calming mood was set with the soulful music playing softly.
To start, we have the amouse bouche; Beetroot and Ricotta Mille Feuille paired with the Wild Yeast Chardonnay. Beautifully presented on a black rectangular plate, the combination of beetroot and roasted butternut mixed with peanuts was a perfect medley of flavours. To have a taste, we rolled the beetroot over the crumbled butternut, a task that was easier said than done.
Next was the Scallops and Octopus Medley served with wasabi yoghurt on the side and squid ink. Having octopus for the first time was an unforgettable experience. The chewy texture was a bit unexpected but my companions told me that’s the normal texture of octopus. The scallops were a treat, soft and delicately cooked. The final starter was the Massaman cuRry Broth, a light meal packed with spices including, Thai ginger, cinnamon, star anise, sweet pepper, green tea, accompanied by a cheese straw. The ground spices were packed in a tea bag which was added into the broth. As we went on to discover the longer the tea bag steeped the more robust the flavours became.
The main course options came next, starting with the Duck Confit Cannelloni. The duck was braised in its own fat with parmesan cheese then covered with a crust of a roasted pumpkin. It was served with a pan Asian savoury sauce which easily cut through the duck seamlessly marrying with the duck flavour. A lemon and vodka sorbet cleared our palates for the next course.
Angus beef and lamb tongue, accompanied by creamed ugali, kachumbari, pumpkin flower and a pea curry was next. This Kenyan dish was beautifully plated and presented in fine dining stature. The lamb tongue’s natural flavour was prominent resulting in an incredible treat.
After all this fine indulgence, we were stuffed and our expectations surpassed. Dessert was the evening’s temptation that we just had to try. A scoop of the Curry Leaf Pana Cotta and a bite into a macaroon was all I could manage.
Images: Peter Ndung’u
Winnie was a guest at Sarova Stanley