Crustaceans, sea bass, lobster, octopus, snails, and eels and the list is endless. I suppose that one would be hard pressed to think of where they can find such wondrous and adventurous fare in Uganda. The good news is that the Seven Seas Restaurant at Sheraton Kampala Hotel is dedicated to such.
Uganda being landlocked, it is hardly the most opportune place for one to think of setting up a seafood establishment However, it helps when this particular joint is part of the Sheraton Kampala Hotel group. Seafood is one of the most expensive foods and besides the high cost of purchasing same; storage is critical and important although this would never be a problem with the Seven Seas Restaurant.
The menu is versatile and eclectic with starters such as grilled goat cheese vegetables and apple vinegar dressing along with the more esoteric crispy fried mozzarella wrapped in prosciutto with rocket salad and confit tomato chutney.
Seafood and meaty items
From the sea there is fresh tuna, octopus, smoked salmon, red snapper and prawns to mention just a few items. As might be expected, there is also a selection of meaty items such as meat balls with spaghetti and tomato sauce, peppered steak and forest mushroom ragout.
Last but not least, honey glazed pork ribs with fried potatoes.
Octopus on the menu was a treat for me and one that is seldom to be seen on the Kampala dining scene. The best way to get the most of out of octopus is to char grill it as was the case at the Seven Seas. Even for the squeamish, octopus is amazingly similar to chicken and in the West, an increasing number of people are discovering its alluring taste and texture.
Notably the Nile Perch luwombo was a disappointment. Of course, I give full credit to the Chef Aleksandar Pavlović, the executive chef for being innovative and creative, but fish in luwombo is at best an insipid and a far from inspirational choice. Luwombos are typically suited for meats, poultry and if one must use fish then dry fish is ideal.
Roasted pineapple soup with coconut ice cream
•1.5 liters of water
•200g muscovado sugar
•Juice and pared zest of 2 limes
•½ red chili
•20g fresh ginger, roughly chopped
•2 lemongrass sticks, roughly broken up
•2 vanilla pods (vanilla beans)
•Coconut ice cream, to serve
For the pineapple confit:
•1 Pineapple peeled, cored and diced
•250g caster (superfine) sugar
•500 ml water
i.Roast the pineapple whole, with the skin on, in an oven preheated to 220˚C for 45 minutes until caramelised on the outside. Remove from the oven and leave to cool. Cut off the skin and roughly chop the flesh into 2cm chunks. Place in a large pan with the water, sugar, lime juice and zest, chill ginger and lemongrass. Spilt the vanilla pods lengthwise in half, scrape out the seeds and set aside. Put the empty pods into the pan and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer gently for an hour. Remove the ginger, lemon grass, chili and lime zest.
ii.Pour the pineapple chunks and liquid into a blender and process until smooth and then strain through a fine sieve. Mix in the vanilla seeds and set aside.
iii.To make the pineapple confit, put the diced pineapple in a pan with the sugar and water and bring to a boil. Simmer for five minutes or until the pineapple is tender and then set aside.
iv.To serve, place a little of the pineapple confit in soup bowls. Gently heat the soup but do not let it boil. Ladle it into the bowls, scoop some coconut ice cream into the centre and serve at once.
If you go…
The place: Seven Seas Restaurant, Sheraton Kampala Hotel
Rating: Not to be missed
Address: Ternan Avenue, Kampala
The space: Semi alfresco cozy and tastefully furnished. However, make sure you have a cardigan or shawl; it gets very chilly
The crowd: Wine connoisseurs and exotic food lovers
The bar: As befitting the Sheraton Kampala Hotel, well stocked.
The damage: At least Shs 150,000 for two plus the drinks
Sound level: Excellent
Parking: Available and secure
If you go: Open for dinner every evening
RATINGS: Not to be missed, worth a visit, OK/so-so, don’t waste your time.