Few hotels in Kampala, Uganda take the trouble to bring in visiting chefs, periodically the Sheraton and more often the Kampala Serena, and when they do, one can be sure of a scramble for tables to sample the dishes they create, the exotic tastes, the presentation on the plates and the fusion of both the finest organic local ingredients with the food items and spices the chefs bring along with them.
Serena’s Japanese Week, celebrated in Kampala over the past 6 days, ended last night with another sellout at the hotel’s Pearl of Africa Restaurant, where Chef Masanori Tomikawa received rave reviews, from diners and the Ugandan food critics alike. His ‘normal’ workplace is at the Hotel Okura in Amsterdam, where he celebrates the fine art of producing Japanese dishes for his Dutch and international clientele, including many Japanese visitors coming to Europe and craving for some dishes from back home.
Here in Kampala, Tomikawa San brought his signature dishes to Uganda, offering for the past 6 days a daily lunch menue of 5 dishes and a daily dinner menu of 9 dishes, which included Sakizuke, Zensai, Dobin-mushi, Tsukuri, Sugiita-yaki, Tempura, Shiizakana, Shokuji and Mizukashi.
Guests included, needless to say, Japanese resident in Kampala, who came to sample Uganda’s first ever original and authentic Japanese food festival, but also the who is who of the capital’s ‘high’ society as well as ordinary folks just wanting to get a taste of Japan and were ready to pay the 60 or so US Dollar equivalent for dinner. Lunch and dinner were sell outs, a resounding vote of success by hotel guests and patrons from Kampala and beyond, who literally queued up to be part of a celebration of high cuisine.
Comments received and seen by this correspondent from guests included: ‘Compliments to the Chef ... the food was yummy all the way through the nine course meal’.
‘My Japanese girlfriend I had lunch with, rubber stamped it "INCREDIBLE"..... to all that she tasted saying ‘Even in Japan I have not eaten anything better’.
‘A million thanks to the Serena staff too for their usual personalized care, it complemented the ambiance at the Pearl of Africa Restaurant and was the perfect setting for introducing the best of Japan’s cuisine – Chef Tomikawa produced such a variety of excellent dishes, it set my tastebuds alight’.
by Dr. Wolfgang Thome