To say that I had been eagerly anticipating this meal for awhile would be a very huge understatement.
Almost as big an understatement as it would be to call Jiko our favorite meal of the trip. Possibly favorite meal of ever.
As I had mentioned in the beginning, Adam and I had originally planned for this trip to coincide with our 3-year anniversary, which was October 6th. And pretty much as soon as the trip was booked, we had Jiko reserved for our anniversary dinner.
And then...well...you know.
In between the time of our original reservation and our new one, a few menu changes occurred. The macaroni and cheese no longer accompanied the filet, which I had been considering having, but hadn't been totally fixated on having.
Unfortunately for my beloved Adam, a dessert he had been eyeing (nay, drooling over already), the Coffee and Koeksisters (spiced doughnuts), also disappeared. He was shocked. Dismayed. None of the new dessert offerings would ever take its place.
Well, we'd see about that.
On the way to Jiko:
We got there a bit early, and were told they wouldn't start seating until 5:30 (our reservation was for 5:35). We meandered around the lobby of AKL. We stood in the waiting area between Boma and Jiko. We then hung out in the bar area just inside the doors of Jiko, and then were called to our table.
When we approached the hostess stand with our now buzzing buzzer, the hostess handed us a card for our anniversary, which the staff had signed.
We thanked them for this unexpected and sweet gesture, and were led to our table. Some ambiance:
We were seated near the wall shown above, which subtly changed colors throughout the evening to represent a sunset.
Upon being seated, we were given two types of bread (honey wheat and flax seed) and tandoori butter.
I then notified the server about my litany of annoying food allergies, and he promptly brought out some safe bread and butter for my side of the table (the flax seed bread and regular butter).
I enjoyed the bread, it had a very nice flavor. Adam said, "the tandoori butter was very tasty, it went well with both of the breads. The flavor of the butter was strong, but not overpowering."
Next, it was time for appetizers. I had been looking at one in particular for awhile, and decided I couldn't not try it.
This is the barbecue chicken flatbread, and it is simply outstanding. I loved the barbecue sauce with the crispy sweet crunch of the apples and jicama. I was thrilled to finally get to try this, after seeing pictures of it for so long!
Adam had the Wild Boar Tenderloin for his appetizer:
He describes this as "wonderful, served over chakalaka, which was spicy, but just enough to contrast the buttery boar. There was a little mealie in the chakalaka, but it was more for the textural component." I tried a bite (okay, 2) of this, and thought it was delicious (possibly even a touch more so than my flatbread. And yes, I shared that too!)
For our main courses, I had the filet, which was served with fingerling potatoes and pole beans.
There were spices of some sort that I am unable to have in the red wine sauce, so that's why that is missing. I thought that the filet was a fantastic cut of beef, buttery and flavorful. I wished I had been able to try this in its true form, as it was very very very good, but was missing that unique touch that all of the dishes seemed to have. Definitely a delicious course though!
Adam then moved on to the Braised Berbary Duck
Honestly, I have never seen Adam enjoy a course more than this one. "The duck was like slices of filet mignon - it was soo tasty and tender. It was served over tandoori potatoes and chanterelle mushrooms, which were equally as good as the duck, and bruleed figs for a sweet component." I did not taste any of this, as I was afraid of spicy allergens within. It did look like a beautiful and delectable dish, and he literally cleared the plate.
For dessert, our wonderful server brought over an anniversary treat for each of us.
I received a sorbet sampler with triple berry, apricot, and strawberry sorbets. The strawberry and apricot were both fabulous, but the triple berry was honestly the best sorbet (possibly dessert) I have ever tasted. It was jam-packed with flavor and wonderfulness. I savored that little scoop like it was a precious treasure hahaha.
(The slightly impatient) Adam was given the Amarula Creme Brulee. He is not typically a creme brulee fan (I know, right?), but he called this "incredible". It had a layer of chocolate on the bottom that he said gave it a little something extra. I was unable to taste, just got to watch him swoon.
When we were about halfway through our desserts, our server came by and said that the only other dessert on the menu I would be able to have besides the sorbets was the chocolate cremeux cake, and if we would like to try that as well, he'd be happy to bring it over.
Adam left it up to me.
Oh, I was SO tempted. I kind of regret my decision now, but...
Sometimes (rarely) I like to put up the appearance of being dainty, and didn't want to toss even more decadence on top of the already amazing meal. I was already stuffed. It would have been just in excess.
OH WHY DID I SAY NO????
I savored my last drop of triple berry sorbet, and thus concluded our anniversary meal at Jiko.
Despite thinking about this dinner for approximately 7 months, Jiko still managed to exceed our expectations. It was a wonderful meal from start to finish, with attentive service, beautiful ambiance, and delicious dishes. Absolutely our favorite meal of the vacation.
To conclude, a brief stop in the Beach Club on the way back led to this awesome chair find:
Doesn't it look like we took a little stroll through Pixie Hollow? Also: yes, it was cold enough for gloves!!