SHERATON’S ITALIAN FOOD IS NOT ALL ABOUT PIZZA
(Posted 16th September 2016)
Going out in Kampala for ‘Italian‘ often reduces itself to having a pizza somewhere, or worse, having a pizza delivered home by Jumia Food to save the driving and allow for an extra intake of a suitable bottle or two of red with it. Couch potatoes will fancy this form of eating Italian while gourmets will probably just shake their heads and afford them some pity if not outright contempt.
There are of course some very decent Italian restaurants in the city and www.theeye.co.ug will provide all the information of where they are located and what their specialities are.
I got tempted recently, after hearing that the chefs at the Sheraton Kampala had created a new Italian Night menu, to undertake one of my rather rare evening excursions into the city to take a closer look. I was not disappointed I am glad to say, positively surprised in fact.
A dozen different main courses from the menu and of course a buffet set up for salads, cold cuts, condiments and most important desserts, will probably overstretch the capacity of any stomach while leaving patrons pondering over the choices they have to make.
That is unless you go about it cleverly and ask the chefs to prepare VERY small portions of those dishes you fancy and if there are several, as was the case with yours truly, be sure you emphasize the words VERY SMALL every time you order another dish to sample.
By insisting on VERY VERY VERY SMALL I eventually managed to eat my way through six of the pasta dishes and three of the meat and fish courses and then had to give the desserts a night off, as not a crumb would have fitted into my stomach after that culinary indulgence session.
Copy cats may also be well advised to give the greens a wide berth too, as those leaves tend to turn into a deterrent when it comes to the final selection of freshly cooked and lovingly set main courses.
I left out only the Risotto Frutti di Mare and the Penne Pomodoro, to be tried another day perhaps, while from the four choices of meats and fish it was the Chicken Parmigiana which had to give way after my mix of surf and turf left me exhausted.
From the Vegetable and Cheese Cannelloni to the Gnocchi all’amitriciana seemed one dish better than the previous one, though the Fettuccine with Meatballs stood out, as did my closing pasta dish, the Onion and Parmesan Ravioli. The use of authentic Italian ingredients made all the difference for my palate and having made all the pasta fresh, as one of the chefs let on, kept them al dente unlike at one particular place where, when arriving late for a lunch, those pasta more resembled a mush, leading to instant rejection.
On to the meat and fish courses it then was after a suitable break to let the pasta settle down and the wait was equally worth it.
The Baked Salmon was delightfully presented and tasted divine and the Herb Crusted Beef Fillet was so tender it literally melted on my tongue.
The Veal Escalope, on which I drizzled a sprinkling of lemon juice, paled a little given the exquisite taste of the fillet I just had as the previous course but stand alone will make a tasty dish no doubt.
Three courses short I had to admit to some level of defeat but that said then blamed it on the initially far too large VERY small portions before the chefs caught on to what I really wanted, a mouthful of each of their creations to sample them, one by one, without at the end having to ask for a wheelbarrow to be moved to my car.
This is a perfect food setting for a night out and the live music from the terrace does only add to the atmosphere.
It is of course best experienced with friends or loved ones though I, true to my nature, did the solo thingi. It spared me the raised eyebrows or queer looks of dinner companions failing to figure for what purpose I came to the Sheraton to sample their new menu and who might on conclusion of the meal take to the social media denouncing me as a binge eater, glutton or worse while I was only doing my job as a travel writer, getting all the facts right by getting all or most of the dishes into me. Have mercy my friends as you read this and not rush to judgement, I did it all for you!
For anyone trying this mega feast one final recommendation though, a Jaegermeister or a few will help to set the digestion going so that when one reaches home can happily continue to devour the contents of the doggy bag.