*I apologise for the title.
When is Nairobi going to make up its mind about this weather? If you’ve suffered from a flu in the last month, raise your hand. I was on the verge of getting sick for about two weeks. Thankfully I fought it off with a lot of Vitamin C and not a lot of rest (idk how it worked but I’m not complaining).
A couple of weeks ago, before my battle with the flu, I visited the Emerald Garden restaurant in Gigiri. The last time I had been there was for a Halloween party in 2016 and before that, for a Thai lunch earlier in the same year. The restaurant is a beautiful garden space with both indoor and outdoor seating. The outdoor seating has floor-to-ceiling glass windows and lots of open space so you still get to feel like you’re dining al fresco.
I visited Emerald Garden to get a sneak peak of their re-brand to Pan Asian Yao. This new concept promises Pan-Asian cuisine with a modern twist. On this Saturday, a few other bloggers and I tried the bento tray and hot pot menus with a few killer cocktails to boot.
A Bento Tray will cost you Ksh 1,000 for a non-vegetarian option and Ksh 800 for veggies only. Choose from Indonesian, Chinese, Malaysian and Indian bento boxes. My personal favourite was the Indonesian box because (fun fact) I used to live in Indonesia and the flavours capture my memory of Indonesian cuisine quite well. The Indonesian box comes with Nasi Goreng (fried rice), chicken satay and chili peanut sauce, Gado Gado salad, Sayur Asem soup and a Tamarind dip. It’s beautifully presented and a great meal with variety.
The highlight of the afternoon was the Hot Pot menu. Hot Pot is a term used for a variety of East Asian food which is prepared in a simmering pot of stock at the dining table. You select your stock, sauces, noodle type, veggies, and meat. Your choice of meat will determine the overall cost of your meal. The Hot Pot menu ranges from Ksh 1,200 (veggies only) to Ksh 2000 (with seafood). Each seat at the table has a dedicated electric stove top to cook your food on once you’ve selected your ingredients. I had the Tom Yum broth which had a tangy flavour of lemon grass and just the right amount of spice to make my nose run a little. I loved the Tom Yum broth but next time I go I’m definitely trying the Sichuan, I hear it’s really spicy.
As the ingredients for our hot pots were brought to our table, the chef came around and advised us on how long to cook each ingredient for. Most of the meat (chicken, lamb, beef) is thinly sliced so it has a surprisingly quick cook time. I think the meat that took the longest to cook was the crab claw and that was no longer than 5 minutes. I really enjoyed this interactive way of dining, we shared sauces and stocks and it got the table really engaged.
I can’t end this post without giving an honourable mention to the cocktails here. They. Are. So. Good! If you go to Pan Asian Yao, order a Manhattan. It’s not on the cocktail menu but it’s one of the best Manhattans I have had in this city. The great cocktail menu combined with the modern Pan-Asian food and relaxing ambiance puts this restaurant high on my list as a great date spot. Go here with someone you care about and want to get to know better, then message me on Instagram or comment here to let me know how it went. 🙂