Nairobi is home to all sorts of gastronomic combinations and for a very short period of time: Thai-Indian Cuisine.
Whether it’s Indian with a Thai touch or Thai with an Indian touch, the week-long fusion menu will see unique South Asian flavours melded together in a signature contemporary Dusit-way.
Dubbed “New Delhi Meets Bangkok,” in partnership with Qatar Airways, guest chefs from New Delhi will be joining Dusit D2 Nairobi’s Chef de Cuisine Pairote Pimswat in a daringly different culinary offering at SOI Restaurant.
“No food is complete unless there’s paneer!” So says Chef Nishant Kumar Choubey. Executive Chef of Dusit Devarana New Delhi and D2 at the Aerocity.
And paneer there was! My companions and I began with the Sriracha-rubbed Paneer Brochettes with Orange and Chili Orange Marmalade (KSh 650). The garlic and sugar of the Sriracha permeated the otherwise flavourless but soft paneer, oozing from the center of the cube was some marmalade and citrus that reminded you of Thai cuisine, and finally, a subtle smokiness from the tandoor oven underlined it all.
A winner of numerous culinary awards including 1st prize at the Bocus d’Or competition in 2009, Chef Nishant brings his ethos of always giving a worldclass gourmet dining experience to his guests in Nairobi. Together with Chef Pairote’s precision and effortless joy that’s injected in his cooking, the formidable duo play on the complex flavours of Indian cuisine’s layers of spices and the aromatic brightness of Thai cuisine, anchored by incredibly fresh produce.
Cooked on a hot stone, the Thai Red Curry and Kaffir Lime Spiced Lamb with Papaya-Flaxseed Pickles and Mint Sabayon (KSh 850) was incredibly tender and soft. The Spicy Chicken Fritters with Yogurt Masala Sauce (KSh 850) were marinated with galangal, chili and garlic whilst my personal favourite starter, Fresh Rice Paper Vegetable Roll served with Mint Chutney (KSh650) cleverly had a sweet peanut sauce inside the filling of tofu and vegetables. Together with the classic Indian Mint Chutney, the rolls were light, rich in flavours and incredibly aromatic.
Curated by Soraiyah Ladak of The Wine Shop, the soon-to-be sommelier paired wines for the entire menu and daringly with the starters, a Rose from Barton & Guestier, demystifying the thought that one cannot begin with a Rose as an aperitif.
The Chickpea and Pumpkin Soup with Lemongrass and Skewered Grapes (KSh 600) was just what a cold Nairobi morning yearned for. Savoury and comforting, the well-spiced soup finished with a bit of heat, an ideal pairing with one of the grilled grapes.
Seafood Fried Rice with Pineapple and Saffron (KSh 1,550) featured prawns and calamari, the beautiful plate of whole Crispy Fried Tilapia “Bhajis Style” with Indian Sweet and Sour Pineapple (KSh 1,550) was a showstopper, and the Thai Green Curry with Indian Greens and Chick Peas (KSh 950) was velvety smooth. However, the two mains worthy to note were the Pulled Jackfruit and Caramelized Onion Biryani (KSh 950) and Makhmali “Silken Gravy” Butter Chicken with Young Coconut (KSh1,150)! Try it and let me know what you think.
If the food doesn’t tantalize you, then a possible free holiday for two to either Bangkok or New Delhi courtesy of dusitD2 and Qatar Airways should entice you to sample some of these exclusive fusion dishes. Hurry, this special fusion menu ends June 26th!