Every now and then a restaurant dining experience comes along which manages to reignite my passion for what I do, it makes me want to cook more, write more, create more and be more. My recent dining experience at Indochine was most certainly one of those.
Executive Chef Virgil Kahn has recently returned from a trip to Southeast Asia, and I along with a group of media were invited to a preview tasting of his newly launched Asian-influenced menu. The food was nothing short of exceptional, and although I have always loved Indochine (Asian cuisine being my favourite), there is definitely a renewed vigour to both the food and restaurant which Chef Virgil accounts to all of the inspiration he gathered while doing what some may call the trip of a lifetime.
For three weeks Kahn spent time working and dining in some of the worlds best restaurants. His trip started at Wanakarn, a beautiful beach resort and spa situated north of Phuket which offered authentic Thai cuisine and ended at Saint Pierre, a one Michelin star restaurant in Singapore which featured contemporary French fine dining with an Asian flare. Another highlight of Kahn’s trip was to taste his way through a 25-course “emoji menu” at the world-renowned Gaggan restaurant in Bangkok, a restaurant that has held the top spot on Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants list for four consecutive years. Other dining experiences he got to enjoy were at internationally-acclaimed restaurants including Nahm and Paste in Bangkok and Belon and Ronin in Hong Kong, as well as many humble street food stalls which he says, were equally inspirational and bursting with fresh flavourful dishes.
“I was struck by the discipline, respect and humility of the people I met and the Buddhist way of life in Thailand, it’s a culture that permeates the kitchen”, said Kahn
All the inspiration Kahn gained on his travels has now been brought home and he has crafted a gastronomic experience with his new menu at Indochine. The menu presents innovative combinations of ingredients and the latest trends Kahn learnt on his trip. Dishes are then artfully plated with the utmost precision and care, all I can say is that it truly is a feast for the senses.
One of the new dishes you can expect to find on the menu takes a twist on an authentic dish which left an impression on Kahn when he was in Bangkok. It is an escabeche of tuna lightly cured in a ginger-chilli pickling liquid served with salmon and ginger floss, caviar, Thai basil, caramelised onion and garlic. It’s so complex, yet so simple, and it literally took my breath away. I ate it so slowly, just to savour every morsel which was on my plate…
Indochine’s new menu pays respectful homage to nature’s ingredients. Each day chefs pick herbs, microgreens and vegetables from Delaire Graff Estate’s own greenhouse, situated on the picturesque slopes of the Botmaskop Mountain. Kahn says that while travelling this was also something which was very apparent in Asia, “My hosts placed vast importance on the source of their ingredients, fastidiously researching suppliers, even foraging their own, and made the most of each and every part of an ingredient”.
The new menu launched at the beginning of this month and is brimming with imaginative new dishes, it stays true to Indochine’s food philosophy for which it has become well-renowned. Chef Kahn has certainly used all of the inspiration he gained abroad and has also incorporated the rich inspiration on Delaire’s doorstep, thereby creating a unique Afro-Asian culinary concept which is certainly not to be missed.
To find out more about Indochine Restaurant, click here. For booking and enquiries, you can mail guest(dot)relations(at)delaire(dot)co(dot)za or call +27 21 885 8160.