If holidays mean anything it is reprieve – from the daily routine, from single egg breakfasts and dinner on the run. It is a call upon the senses, a call to wake up to that spice of life we call variety, and what better place to reawaken your sense of taste, smell, touch, sound and sight than in a far-away country with a wholly different culture. That is the world we hope our new Zambian Tasting Menu will open up to you on your holiday. And a new year means a new menu.
5 Questions With Chef Sungani Phiri
1. How did it come about?
After the old tasting menu we realised we had only touched the surface of Zambian cuisine. Because we are looking to be the pioneers of Zambian cuisine, we had to celebrate seasonal produce. The new menu has a lot more options and more detail in the plating.
2. What was the inspiration behind the different dishes and ingredients?
Through my travelling and research, I was inspired by the different tribes in Zambia and how each tribe has its own food. For instance, in the Eastern province, raw banana is fried with toasted peanuts as a form of dessert, unlike in the Southern province where they use left-over maize meal, “ Nshima”, with fermented sour milk.
3. What are your hopes for this new menu?
To bring to light the different cultural foods of the Zambian people using modern culinary methods. It is a celebration of the 16 major cultural groupings and more than 72 different dialects are spoken, who all have different ways of preparing food.
4. What has been the reaction to it so far?
Excellent! We have been fortunate to have some return guests visit and try the menu and they believe the menu is even better than the previous one – there is much more Zambian food to celebrate on the menu.
5. Which is your favourite part of the menu and why?
My favourite part is the health factor, the nutrition involved. It is my aim to show Zambians that there are healthier ways to eat – carbohydrates like maize meal only came into the country in the 14th century.
Mawuyu Baobab Fruit Cocktail – the first Zambian Pina Colada
Chicken Liver Mousse with Wild Spinach Veloute with Mango Chutney and Cassava Bread
Freshwater Crayfish (“yabbies”) with White Bean Veloute
Pan-fried Zambezi Bream in an Aniseed Fish Broth on a bed of Sauteed Cabbage and Kapenta
Palate Cleanser: Calabash Mango, Lime and Mint Sorbet