Bathed in soft candlelight and filled with the soothing sounds of South Korean music, our introduction to the Tribal Gallery was something out of a Pinterest board. We arrived early and were warmly welcomed by Louise Paterson, the owner and showrunner of the dinner and the gallery. We were welcomed with a cup of tea and taken around the house turned art gallery that features pieces from all over the world that included heavy dark wooden tables, delicate East Asian artwork and cosy couch corners that were begging us to put our feet up and take in the ambience of the place.
The Tribal Gallery usually hosts dinners with different themes. During each dinner, the gallery is decorated to reflect the source culture of the dinner. All the art, food and setting itself are usually sourced from the country of origin or feature artists from the country. It doesn’t take much to attend any of their dinners, just send an email request and your name will be added to the list. The dinners usually cost between Kshs. 4,500 to Kshs. 7,500 per person and can include anything from pop up breakfasts to brunches and dinners.
This time around it was a Korean dinner featuring dishes cooked by skilled home chefs Kyung ah Lee and Young ah Choi, a mother-daughter duo whose cooking and dishes have been passed down for generations. The menu was provided prior to the dinner and it included 5 dishes each paired with wine from the award-winning Vergelegen Estate in Stellenbosch, South Africa.
Hopakjuk (Pumpkin Porridge)
Japchae (sweet and savoury stir-fried glass noodles and vegetables)
Jeon (3 kinds of Korean pancake – chilli pepper beef, spring onion & squid, pan-fried zucchini)
Galbi (Marinated short-beef rib, grilled and served with rice cake)
Sukjunamul (Mung bean sprouts and cucumber, seasoned with vinegar & sesame oil)
Bibimbap (Rice served with vegetables, sunnyside up egg, Kimchi and hot pepper soy paste)
Sujeonggwa (Cinnamon punch with dried persimmon)
Kot Songpyeon (Flower rice cakes)
Once the tea had warmed us up, we sat down to have a quick chat with the chefs before they started plating their delicate dishes.
Who taught you how to cook?
My mum has been cooking since she was very young with my grandmother and my great grandmother so she learned how to cook the traditional Korean way. In my case, I was a working mum in Korea so I had no chance to cook. After I moved here, I wasn’t working and I had the time to focus on food and cooking at home so I would always call my mum and ask her how to make all these different Korean dishes. She taught me step by step how to cook everything.
Did you find it hard to source some ingredients?
I was lucky to find Korean stores and Korean restaurants so I was able to get all the ingredients I need. Today’s ingredients were sourced from both Kenya and Korea.
Who came up with tonight’s menu?
We discussed it together and decided on traditional Korean food. These meals are usually eaten during celebrations such as birthdays so it is common and popular food. So it was not difficult to organise the menu, we just thought about what is commonly eaten in Korea.
What’s your favourite dish on the menu?
My mother’s favourite dish is the japchae and my favourite dish is galbi. I especially like today’s galbi which we made inside of the rice cake so you get different flavours from it.
After that quick round of questions, we let the chefs go and settled in our seats. Within no time dinner was ready, all the guests were seated and the wine began to flow. We were not disappointed by any of the dishes. From the porridge to the rice cakes every dish offered new flavours and textures that were not overpowered by the selection of wines. We left the dinner satisfied but we wouldn’t mind experiencing it all over again.
Kyung ah Lee and Young ah Choi will be cooking up a storm again in the Tribal Gallery kitchen on May 29th 2019 so make your reservation to experience a home cooked meal in a beautiful setting. We guarantee that you won’t want to leave.
About Tribal Gallery
Tribal Gallery, a unique home and lifestyle company – bringing together an eclectic mix of furniture, fabrics and art from across Asia & Africa. Capturing the essence and distinctiveness of the cultures from which they come, the Tribal Gallery collection is rich in heritage and full of soul. Vintage handwoven carpets and textiles from Central Asia & North Africa and antique furniture from Pakistan & Afghanistan are combined with wonderful contemporary art from across Africa. One-of-a-kind pieces crafted from hardwoods up-cycled from old dhow sailing ships sit alongside cosy sofas in exquisite linens and velvets. Tribal Gallery is where the joy of travel, discovery, new friendships and the love of home meet.