#SusanEats: A Single Malt Whisky pairing dinner to remember

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“Little Fridays” or Thursdays just got a lot better with the launch of their Whisky Tasting Menu at the Chef’s Table of Tatu Restaurant.

Nestled inside one of Nairobi’s most storied hotel properties, for the remaining Thursdays of the month of July, limited to six diners, those who reserve the exclusive Chef’s Table will be served a special tasting menu paired with a fine collection of Single Malt Scotch Whiskys (KSh 6,400).

Designed by Fairmont Kenya group executive chef Aris Athanasiou, the five-course dinner takes place at the Chef’s Table, a custom booth which was made for sinking deeper into, while the open kitchen provides the perfect theatrics for a smooth evening of fruity and citrus characters, maltiness, peat and moreish plates.

We begin with a wooden board of Parmigiano and Roka Leaves Cheese Crisp Crostini paired with Glenkinchie, which resulted in a very smooth and easy-going beginning. The grilled prawn is subtly marinated with Ouzo and is finished with a drizzle of Olive Oil while the Crostini is dressed with some pesto at the table.

The masterfully built Salmon Ceviche, Avocado, Horseradish Mayo, Crispy Pitta Bread, Maldon Sea Salt, and Fresh Lemon is as beautiful as it tastes. The ceviche is carefully wrapped and rolled with thinly sliced avocado and topped with crunchy radish slices so fine that they are translucent. Paired with Talisker, a whisky with a gorgeous combination of sea spray and a sprinkling of citrus to tame the smoke, the first bite is overwhelmed by the smokiness of the whisky, but with every bite and sip the components become more harmonious resulting in a softer and sweeter pairing compared to the initial abrupt shock.

tatu restaurant whisky pairing susan wong susaneats

Paired with the Cragganmore that is usually very rich, spicy and features an aromatic blast of citrus; the Avocado Mousse, Fried Egg that ran freely once pierced, Asparagus and Crispy Serrano Ham was a perfect balance of salty and sweet. Last sips of Cragganmore then revealed softer aromas of toffee and a gentle floral character that finished very clean.

By this course, early satiety was setting-in. Lagavulin is not for the faint-hearted but often inspires a lot of dedicated devotion amongst its die-hard fans. Heavily peppery and smoky at first, the first sips of this whisky is then followed by citrus and peach notes. Its rich mouth-feel becomes softer and grows to a more rounded finish with a dash of water but can also be achieved by tucking-in the sizable portion of Chicken Breast Sous Vide stuffed with Prunes, Roquefort Cheese Cream Sauce, Potatoes Croquette, and Grilled Asparagus wrapped with Smoked Ham. The smokiness of the whisky are echoed in the roast head of garlic and wrapped ham, whilst the creaminess of the sauce was easily cut by the peppery notes.

Finally, to finish, a classic Apple Crumble with Cinnamon Dust and Sultanas, Vanilla Ice-cream, with Smoked Acacia Honey that was drizzled at the table was paired with chilled Dalwhinnie served in an elegant champagne flute – a delight visually and sensually. The graceful pairing was smooth and medium-bodied with a light finish thanks to the fruity flavours and aromas of both the dessert and whisky.

The evening certainly felt like a masterclass of Diageo’s Classic Single Malt range, but most importantly dining at the Chef’s Table is culinary exclusivity defined. The intimate setting, secluded from the main restaurant, allows diners to focus solely on the food, company before them, and in this case – also the whisky.

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SUSAN WONG

Susan Wong is the Editor of Capital Lifestyle, a resident photographer, an award-winning journalist, radio presenter, full-time adventurer, long-time admirer of anything edible, and a spicy food athlete at Capital FM.

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