By Secret Agent
Galana Plaza in Kilimani may look like your average neighbourhood mall, but it has distinguished itself as the host of two of the most glamorous nightspots (B-Club and Kiza) in Nairobi. The latter runs an African-themed restaurant that I highly recommend, but as I would learn recently, on the mall’s second floor lies Nairobi’s best-kept secret.
Five Senses Restaurant, launched in June 2018, is a fine-dining French restaurant that combines locally sourced ingredients with the French style of cooking through the concept of food and wine pairing. It owner Kimani Kiarie brings on board the fine art of French cooking using locally sourced ingredients. Chef Kim as more commonly known undertook culinary studies in Kenya, Switzerland and took it a notch higher in France, a country renowned for its gastronomy where he honed his skills, and particularly the concept of fine dining, and pairing food and wine.
I was in to try out their latest menu inclusion that he and his mentor and tutor Chef Xavier Bouriot, have put together. The latter, the Founder of Paris-based Cooking Training Consulting Company that specialises in training chefs in the French cooking style for efficiency in the kitchen, excellence and product optimization, is a big deal. Besides his over 32 years’ experience, he once worked under famous Chefs including Guy Savoy and Alain Senderens and after many years of cooking for guests became a Chef Trainer and Consultant with Alain Ducasse Company ADF where he met Chef Kimani.
I wandered in on a Wednesday afternoon and friendly staff welcomed me but the restaurant is popular in the evenings and recommends that patrons reserve space to snag a table easily. Five sense’ ambience is relaxed, infusing the feeling of being outdoors in the modern expression of fine dining through the interior architecture of our restaurant. As you take your seat, their open kitchen takes centre stage, allowing your senses access to the various sights, sounds and smells, as their chefs prepare your meal.
While the restaurant décor provides visual and sensory stimulation with the different colours and textures, the ambient background music sets the mood and encapsulates the Five Senses Experience. Not one of the most spacious spaces, but they have made great use of mirrors. The ancient replica wall clock that mimics ancient brass piping system is a particularly stand out feature of the restaurant. I should have taken a selfie beside it.
My highly ballyhooed meal was a pairing with Moët & Chandon, the champagne of success and glamour since 1743. To start diners of was the aptly named Tuna Tartare amuse-bouche that consisted of green Pea Mousseline with mild Wasabi flavour paired with Moet & Chandon Nectar Rosé. This was followed by a poached king prawn starter.
While it appeared simple in its appearance, the flavour and texture of this dish were complex and reflected great creativity incorporating light granny apple jelly and fennel shaving. Adding to its flavour was a Moet & Chandon Imperial Brut. The highlight of my night was the signature white snapper confit main paired with the pak-choi and champagne sauce. The duo really outdid themselves with this dish and made me contemplate relegating steak to my second-favourite serving.
The sauce was as they say ‘to die for’ and was paired with Moet & Chandon Nectar Imperial. I do not have a sweet tooth so mango tartare, purple basil, lime and goat cheese sorbet was a perfect conclusion to this meal. In keeping with the theme, it was paired with Moet & Chandon Rosé Imperial.
Don’t let appearances fool you, Five Senses might not boast the biggest name or space but they are a restaurant to look out for. This place definitely stimulated my Five Senses is perfect for anniversary and birthday dinner.