#KlaRestaurantWeek: Café Javas
Café Javas is one of those cafés that goes above and beyond its mandate as a coffee house to gain as much of a reputation for its food as for its coffee. This year Javas is stepping into the ring with some of Kampala’s top restaurants as a participant in Kampala Restaurant Week, and we know what you are thinking. Which one? All of them. From the 1st to the 11th of June, you may walk into any Javas outlet in Kampala (and beyond) and enjoy the treats in their exclusive menu, some of which we previewed for you below.
First up is an appetiser that goes by Pan Bread. What is that about?
Pan Bread is cooked as well as served in a shallow, black, earthenware pan that seems to struggle to contain the glistening globes of brioche. Brioche is a French bread made that we are conflicted about calling bread or a pastry, because it is made with more eggs and butter than your average loaf, giving it a flaky crust and a rich, tender crumb.
Here it is smothered in garlic butter, parmesan and mozzarella so that when you pull away a piece, you leave a delicious stringy trail and molten cheese oozing out of the centre.
The pieces of “bread” are really soft with the strong pungency of garlic and cheese, leaving your fingers glistening with buttery decadence. Apart from how potentially filling this can be, this is a great meal to share because it comes apart so easily.
What would you have envisioned at the mention of Rosemary Chicken Skewers?
Whatever it was, the real deal, as you can see, is almost definitely more impressive. A single metallic skewer, over a foot long, is suspended vertically from a sword-like hilt still warm from the grill and has grilled chicken breast cubes running down to the tip like a kebab.
The end of the skewer is buried in a bowl of avocado, onions, tomatoes, lime juice and dania.
This zesty salsa is a perfect accompaniment for the salty, tender, slightly charred chicken, with its distinct rosemary infused flavour; combining the bitter with the piney to make the salty more interesting. The bowl of salsa sits on a large banana leaf, buffered on all sides by gonja chips drizzled with lemon juice.
The gonja crisps sold in translucent plastic packets makes one expect these dark brown fritters to be hard and crunchy, but instead, they are crispy on the outside and soft to the chew, just like french fries. Yes, the entire apparatus and scale of presentation are awe-inspiring, but the flavours, textures and aromas also follow through, so that this dish tastes even more impressive than it looks.
If you make it to dessert, you will have, by this time snuck a few peeks at the glass display of pastries and confectionaries, and will have no doubt noticed the Red Velvet Cake.
According to a census that does not exist, but should: everybody (well, exactly 89% of the population, rounded off) LOVES Red Velvet Cake.
Fun fact: not everybody knows it is actually chocolate cake.
Traditionally coloured red with beetroot juice, the taste of chocolate and the colour red, usually not associated with chocolate is a combination that has raised Red Velvet, in the public psyche, above the chocolate cake realm and into a league of its own. The cake is layered, with each red section separated by a mixture of mascarpone and cream cheese. This rich, creamy combination restrains the chocolate cake from unbridled sweetness, balancing it out with a light cheesy flavour.
Photography: Julius Caesar Kasujja