Sake and beer are obvious choices at sushi bars and while the inclusion of champagne on their wine lists is rare, raw fish and bubbles make for quite the interesting pairing. This synergy perhaps partly stems from the high yeast content of both. I find champagne and sushi to be nearly as compatible as red wine and nicely grilled red meat, but then I’m not fond of beer so I couldn’t weigh in on all the fuss about it and sushi. It is therefore with childlike glee that I headed out to Tokyo Japanese Restaurant in Lavington for an evening sampling Taittinger Champagne– provided by Wines of the World- accompanied by Tokyo’s signature delights, a first event of its kind in Nairobi.
First of all, I firmly believe in Tokyo’s sushi. Unlike in Japan where asking someone to list their top five best sushi-ya’s is akin to the ‘how long is a piece of string’ quandary, Tokyo Restaurant is renowned throughout Nairobi. Besides, head chef and founder, Mr. Shin, is one of the only licensed chefs in Japanese food in the country. From their tuna, octopus and red snapper sashimis to the black dragon roll, you can rest assured that whatever is to come from his kitchen will be good.
With tickets having been going for Ksh 6,000, the black tie affair was exclusive and certainly very intimate. First up was the Taittinger Demi Sec which accompanied a light, crunchy and delightful prawn tempura. This was followed by Taittinger Brut which as Victoria Mulu-Munywoki- sommelier at Wines of the World- explained, is made up of 40% Chardonnay and 60% Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. It accompanied the sushi, my favourite from the platter being the salmon nigiri rolls. Given the acidity and dryness of the brut, it cut right through the oiliness of the salmon to amplify the texture of the raw fish. I must add that this was also my favourite pairing of the night. It is important to note that toning down the heat of your wasabi or amount of soy sauce makes for a more enhanced pairing experience.
It is said that dessert is like a feel-good song and the best ones make you dance. Boy did we jig! The centerpiece of the dessert table was a 4-tier chocolate fondue fountain made by Sweet Art Creation. It had been in my line of vision all evening. Mocking me. Tempting me. You can imagine my excitement when I finally got to thoroughly coat my strawberries and marshmallows in the thick chocolate and top these off with coconut sprinkles. The champagne of choice was Taittinger Nocturne, which has the most beautiful purple sleeve. It was perfect for the dessert given that it is rich, creamy and yet crisp, and culminates in a long smooth finish. There was a ruffle I didn’t pay much attention to given the sushi settling contentedly in my tummy and the champagne singing happily in my head. And yet, we were still to sample Taittinger Comte de Blanc as a treat to wrap up the dinner!
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