#KlaRestaurantWeek: The Wild Orchid & The Food Library
The Wild Orchid, a dainty coffee shop at The Orchid (opposite Imperial Royale and Hotel Ruch) that does coffee house things as well as serving breakfast and lunch, is collaborating with The Food Library for this year’s #KlaRestaurantWeek. What this collabo means is that the high-end mobile food platform is taking up residency at the recently opened cafe; combining the best of both eateries to deliver range of delicious, decadent treats. Yes, we ate there too.
A good place to start is with the Avocado Prawn Ritz Salad. Seafood (or fish), avocado and cocktail sauce is a fail-safe combination, and it works a little better than usual here.
The avocado is hollowed out and filled with kachumbali (upgraded with diced bell peppers), all garnished with a home-made cocktail dressing. The prawns, of course, are the main attraction. Stir-fried in a thick tomato based sauce, the strongly flavoured smokey, slightly sweet prawns are balanced out by the avocado-kachumbali mix.
We have seen courgettes (or zucchini) come in many shapes and forms, but never the Courgette Noodles with Chicken Meatballs and Chilli Flakes appetiser.
The courgette is sliced into thin, spaghetti-like noodles, blanched and served topped with chicken meatballs, themselves topped with a date and tamarind based chutney adding sweet pungency to the salty chicken balls. As you relish your first forkful, you realise they have formulated pasta that will not make you fat, but still tastes amazing. It has a very herbaceous flavour just in case you forget it is a vegetable, but is very precise in its firmness (al-dente), with the appearance of green 2-minute noodles.
A slightly less eccentric pasta dish on the main course section of the menu is the Vegetable Lasagna.
In between circular sheets of fresh lasagna made on site, are layers of a cheesy Béchamel sauce and Mexican beans. Mexican beans are known to be darker, larger, softer and moister than the beans we just call beans in Uganda, but herein have a texture and flavour one can safely describe as meaty. That was the plan. It is amazing that this dish manages to be oh-so-creamy, without the lasagna sheets being so soggy that they become an indiscernible mush. It is a real problem in the Lasagna community.
On the meatier side of the mains menu is the Stacked Grilled Chicken with Pesto. Something about stacking food up, rather than being spread all around makes one underestimate how much chow they are really dealing with.
It’s a trap. Between the layers of chicken covered in a creamy, white sauce are slices of biringanya, tomato slices and mashed potatoes, which add up. Chicken breast is quite risky. It tends to be tough, stringy and difficult to penetrate with marinade, but the basil-dominant pesto sinks into the flesh well, giving it moisture as well as a herbaceous, slightly bitter edge.
Sometimes you want a little bit of a whole lot of things, and The Fish Trio is perfect for those kinds of times. Here we have three fish dishes with accompanying sauces and starches all beautifully arranged on a single platter.
Start on one end with the Tilapia Paupiette, a French style fillet served with tartar sauce. The tilapia goes with a risotto based aranchini, which is crispy on the outside, with a creamy consistency and subtle cheesy aftertaste. Next, the bread-crumbed tilapia is served with a slightly sweet coconut curry and floral tasting Velvet Wild Rice. Finally, the smoked salmon, which is generously sprinkled with black pepper and sesame seeds, and does not need much more help. Salmon is inherently salty, especially in the thin layer of fat that runs along its outside.
If you know The Food Library, you know they do not play when it comes to desserts. Their over-the-top, celebration of excess is not to be missed, with the Wild Orchid Brownie Sundae.
It is not a brownie with ice-cream, but ice-cream with brownies. The glass that the sugar-cone is placed in is more than just an aesthetic gimmick, it is a logistical necessity. With a spoon (or not, free country), you can dig into the heavily accessorised chocolate ice-cream and let it all disintegrate without losing any of the good stuff. And there is a lot of good stuff: chocolate ice cream, pieces of an almost fudgy chocolate brownie and chocolate chip cookies. They. Don’t. Play.