#KlaRestaurantWeek: Riders Lounge
Whenever Riders’ Lounge comes up in conversation around these parts, it is usually in the context of late nights revolving around the bar and dance floor, but a little lesser known is their kitchen. This year Riders’ Lounge steps up to the plate as more than just an excellent lounge or club experience, but also an outpost of culinary awesomeness, with their participation in the second edition of the Kampala Restaurant Week. We sampled a few of the dishes on their exclusive menu to give you a glimpse of what they will have to offer from the 1st to the 11th of June.
To start off, you may go with a Classic Nicoise Tuna Salad which is a combination of leafy vegetables, tomato chunks, black olives, hard boiled eggs, tiny whole Irish potatoes and, of course, tuna. With a light vinegar based dressing, the taste of the various ingredients is never obscured but enhanced.
Another appetiser to prepare your taste-buds is the Buttered Sardine Loaf, a dish that combines the look of a sushi roll with a flavour more often associated with sandwiches served at/with/for High Tea. Tuna and tilapia are rolled up into paper-thin cucumber and chopped into four sushi-like pieces, then elegantly arranged with wispy, tall stalks of fried spaghetti.
The cold cucumber, which plays the role of the sea-weed in this sushi metaphor makes for a crunchy exterior while the lightly flavoured tuna and stronger tasting sardine core make for a very soft interior. The tuna and cucumber combination reminds one of the kind of cold sandwich served at the kind of tea party where people actually sip tea with their pinkie fingers sticking up; light on the taste buds and light on the tummy, but still interesting to munch on.
A number of meaty dishes are on the roster for Riders’ Restaurant Week menu ranging from chicken stuffed with bacon and cheese, to beef stuffed with beef. However, for something a little less intense, the Lime and Dill Marinated Tilapia is a delicious option. Tilapia fillet is grilled to a lightly singed brown shade after being rubbed down with an unimposing marinade that enhances the fish’s own flavour, but the entire dish flourishes due to its accompanying sauce. Lime and dill are the flavour base of a creamy sauce with a zesty and slightly herbal edge that not only lubricates but also supplements the fish. These are stuffed by what is referred to as Matooke Mash.
What is the difference between Matooke Mash at the Riders’ and, you know, the mashed yellow stuff we just call Matooke?
Here, the Matooke is diced, steamed and mashed, then mixed in with a little butter and cream that makes it a little more smooth and moist, so that your side dish will not have been dehydrated and hardened by the time you get back from the bathroom. The Matooke Mash can also be served as an accompaniment for Rolled Chicken with Wild Mushroom Jus. What that name does not tell you is that the chicken is a cut of breast stuffed with a layer of ham, a layer of bacon and a central core of gooey mozzarella cheese that balances out the bacon’s salty flavour.
Finally on the menu is the understated Beef Olive with Creamy Pepper Sauce and Dauphinois Potatoes. “Beef Olive” doesn’t tell you that you are dealing with beef fillet batted to tenderness, wrapped into a roll stuffed with minced meat (yup) infused with olives, garlic, onions, cooked sous vide (under pressure) and grilled. The result is a beef lover’s fantasy with what tastes like a beef sausage wrapped in a steak with a creamy peppery sauce that complements the grilled beef’s smokey affectations. The Dauphinois potatoes are a stack of thinly sliced irish potatoes with cream and cheese in between them; cheesy, starchy decadence.
For a sweet finish, you may go with Chocolate Pudding with Cinnamon Ice-cream. The pudding itself? Imagine a dark, slightly bitter cake that is baked on the outside but soft and gooey on the inside, oozing molten chocolate. It is served warm with cold cinnamon flavoured ice-cream for a combination of sweet chocolate, and earthy, spicy cinnamon that is complementary in taste but contrasts delightfully in temperature.
Photography: Julius Caesar Kasujja