Hotels have started launching new menus ahead of Ramadhan next week.
Villa Rosa Kempinski is among those that will serve an Iftar dinner, filled with flavours from all over the world. Tambourin restaurant's chef Rami Saloum says the new flavours will have a mix of everything.
"There will be a little bit of touch of Arabic cuisines. We'll also have cuisines that have flavours from Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, Morocco, India, and Italy. We don’t want only Arabic or something that not everybody is fun of,” he said.
The menu has lentil soup, a common dish in the Arabic world, Hummus salad which is boiled cheek pees added with tahini sauce flavoured with salt lemon juice, a little bit of oil and garlic, Middle eastern roasted eggplant you will have a strong flavour of Shakur mixed with onion, tomato, basil and marinated it with pomegranate molasses olive oil, salt, and lemon juice.
“Most of the Lebanese food is designed to go with drinks that’s why they are always salty, sour, and a little bit spicy,” he said.
Hoteliers usually record an increase in dinner bookings during Ramadhan. While some Muslims do the celebrations at home, other well-to-do Kenyans book Iftar dinners in five-star hotels.
Last Ramadan, Villa Rosa Kempinski did pure Arabic cuisines for Iftar but they realised that diner's palates are changing.
"Diners want something exciting and tasty so that’s why this year we want to do more flavours. People's palate changes every day. Some people came here last year and they were not sure if they liked the food but when we explained the ingredients used in the food and they tasted it, they loved the food,” said chef Saloum.
Some foods do not appeal to the most basic, ingrained desires that they have to be acquired, forcing changes in menus.
Kempinski said they change its menu after three to four months every year.
“We started adjusting the menu according to the preference of the guests. For example, if you eat traditional hummus, you'll you find it too sour with a lot of garlic. I tried it here and got some negative feedback. As a chef, we can’t just introduce foods from another part of the world and expect diners to accept them. Nowadays what we do is we adjust to the market and what people what," he explained.
Just like many high-end hotels, Kempinski has also gone local with ingredients.
“Most of the ingredients are now available locally. It's only very few items that we source from one supplier in Israel two or three times a year. Once in a while, we'll also get ingredients such as tahini, olive oil, and sweet smoked paprika from Egypt or Dubai. These are tough to find in Kenya,” chef Saloum said.