#KlaRestaurantWeek: Jinja Sailing Club
This Restaurant Week we are going beyond the city’s borders to bring you some of the best culinary experiences just out of town. On the shores of the River Nile is a club, that is not really a club. No members’ privileges, no members’ subscription, no members at all. The Jinja Sailing Club is where any and everyone is welcome to enjoy a sophisticated meal in the restaurant or drink at the plush bar and we got to sample their exclusive Restaurant Week menu so that you can too.
Let us start with the avocado, cucumber and mint soup.
This is a trio of mild green ingredients that are usually eaten cold and make up a cold soup with Spanish roots that is especially popular for its refreshing qualities. Cucumber and avocado provide colour and texture while the mint has the most prominent flavour. The grassy green broth is light and creamy, with a sharp herbal edge thanks to the mint and a slightly sweet after-taste that tantalises the taste buds but leaves a tart sensation in the mouth that yearns to be neutralised with subsequent dishes.
Another appetiser is the Lentil Aranchini,
which is a fusion of Italian aranchini (usually mashed rice moulded into miniature fingers and grilled or deep fried) and Asian ingredients (lentils and cumin, a classic combination). Yellow lentils and basmati rice are mashed, stuffed with gouda infused with cumin and grilled to a golden brown shade. The aranchini is served with two dips: fresh cilantro blended into a sour sauce and a papaya relish made from pawpaw leaves and mustard seeds. When you take your first crunchy bite, a string of melted cheese stretches between your mouth and the rest of the aranchini. This dish is a particularly great appetiser because cumin is a palette cleanser that gets you ready for more.
One of the main courses, a vegetarian entry, is the Zaferrano e Risotto Verde Piselli, which translates into a saffron and green pea risotto.
In case you don’t know and are too shy to ask, risotto is an Italian rise based dish, here made with Arbollio and Martelli rice which are thicker grained and slightly more aromatic than basmati rice. The rice is folded into cheese, peas, saffron and reduced white wine for a thick, creamy substance with the consistency of oatmeal. Though the cheesey flavour, enhanced by wine, is very notable, there is a subtle sweetness, no doubt from the green peas and possibly from the gold emitting saffron.
On the more meaty side of this menu is the Beef Saltimbocca, a French-inspired taste of Sardinia.
Long strips of grilled vegetables are wrapped in beef fillet marinated with balsamic vinegar and Worcestershire sauce, served with garlic infused mashed potatoes and a peppercorn based sauce. The beef, grilled till its charred and flaky on the outside, and well-done on the inside gives off piney hints of rosemary that complement the smokey, sweet Worcestershire sauce.
A sweet end to your meal may come in the form of the Passion Fruit Cheesecake which consists of a layer of crushed wholewheat biscuit, plain cream cheese and passion fruit puree, served on a chilled plate.
The appeal of cheese cake has always been the complex combination of pungent cheese and sweetness, whose balance tips slightly in favour of the sweet. The passion fruit gives a tangy after-taste and the delightful sensation of seeds swirling around in your mouth, reminiscent of childhood. It is a slightly different take on a familiar, local staple.
Photography: Julius Caesar Kasujja