First of all, from as far back as Angela has lived, she has always wanted to live in France. So much so that her passwords were very French related (she might kill me for this), she studied and is fluent in speaking French, and she could possibly carry her life and re live it in Paris from scratch if she could. With this in mind, it was a no brainer that Angela and I would jump at the opportunity to go through a French experience at the Kampala Serena Hotel last Friday.
We were told cocktails would start at 6:30pm on Friday evening so we didn’t waste time getting to the hotel in good time to beat Kampala’s Friday evening traffic. While we fussed and caught up on our walk into the hotel, we spoke about what we thought the evening would be like, and while we did, we walked to the first floor of the hotel where we had been directed to. We were greeted by a professional looking lady, who showed us where our cocktail would be and were met by a display of cocktails, and starters mainly featuring cheese and crackers.
We used this time to catch up with, and hear insights from people who like us really appreciate good food, good champagne, and the dining options Kampala has to offer. As it approached 7:00pm, we were directed into The Champagne Bar, on the first floor (as you walk into The Pearl Restaurant). I do not know what this space was before, but it has been revamped into a room meant for people who appreciate and have the taste for Champagne. (Generally speaking this room was made for me, lol). We had a video clip of our time in the bar in our Instagram and Facebook stories if you caught it. Now to tell you about how serious they are about this, they have a Sommelier, trained in France to explain to anyone who goes into the Champagne Bar which of the 25 brands of Champagne they have in stock would best suit you and why. Celestine, Kampala Serena Hotel’s Sommelier has a quiet, but firm demeanor. He talks us through his experience in earning the title of a Sommelier, how to open and fully enjoy a bottle of Champagne with brisk efficiency, and an air of someone who really knows what he is speaking of.
By the time we finally make it to dinner, Angela, myself, and the whole group are chatty. We’ve been lathered up in Champagne, and our heads are slightly up in the clouds from imagining what life is like in France. A pianist in the Pearl Restaurant is playing a soft melody while we are ushered into a private room at the back of the restaurant. Our drinks are topped up while we talk, catch up and laugh at jokes being exchanged around the room. A lady comes around to ask us how we would like our steak done in preparation for our main which will include steak. Our meal goes a little bit like this:
Before our meal kicked off, we were given small shot like glasses that had a pre – starter (if I can call it this) that was topped with caviar.
Our salmon was tender and smelt of a smokey flavour. The horseradish was cut up into tiny little pieces and was arranged into a pile, and the beet textures tasted exactly like beet root, although they came in a somewhat jelly like form.
This soup was creamy, and it tasted heavily of butternut squash. It went down so well in the room that someone asked to have two extra portions of it. I paired my soup with garlic bread, and the combination was divine.
My beef, which I had requested should be well done was cooked just right. It was topped off with a jumbo prawn and a side of baby vegetables, edible flowers and a potato mash.
And finally we had ice cream encased in a hard chocolate shell that we had to crack open to get to.
The night which was meant to leave us with an understanding of what living the French experience is, did just that. We had had our fill of French style cooking and champagne. French week is on at The Pearl Restaurant starting 19th to 23rd March with Michelin Chef Lucas and his team from France. This is an experience you want to go and check out if you can. When you do go, pop into the Champagne Bar while you are at it. It will all be worth your experience.