There are private kitchens and there are private kitchens. There are the kind that call themselves ‘private’ when really you’re sharing the space with a bunch of people you have never seen before and never wish to see again, and there are the kind where the word ‘private’ actually means private. Seema’s Private Kitchen is of the latter variety, where usually she cooks her meal in her own private home in Mid-Levels. On this occasion, however, as her home was unavailable, Seema brought her incredible private kitchen to us.
Some very good friends of mine have the most amazing flat in the whole of Hong Kong. Perhaps this is a slight exaggeration as I haven’t seen every flat in Hong Kong, but they at least have the most amazing flat out of any of my friends, and it is the perfect place for a dinner party. We have had our share of dinner parties there, but this one managed to blow all the others away (sorry birthday girl, you are a wonderful cook, but I think Seema might be a tad better! Only a tad though, promise!)
Seema’s meal tells the story of her journey ‘From Africa to Asia.’ Born and raised in Nairobi by her Indian parents, Seema then moved to Mumbai after marriage and subsequently settled in Hong Kong. Her mother ran her own cooking school in Nairobi and wrote cookbooks, so the love of food was always embedded within Seema, and she too ran her own cooking classes everywhere she went. In Hong Kong, she holds cooking classes at her home, as well hosting amazing private dinners in which she gives her diners a taste of her travels and experiences.
To begin, we were presented with pumpkin soup. I love pumpkin soup under any circumstances and this one did not let me down. It was everything a pumpkin soup should be and more: creamy, comforting, and hearty, with an added Seema-style kick that left us scraping our bowls clean and wanting more.
The Piri-piri shrimps from the Portuguese region of Africa had an eye-watering, peppery kick to them that was balanced by the sweet and fruity chunks of mango. A crunchy salad also complemented the freshness of the prawns.
The Goan fish curry, made with meaty chunks of New Zealand sole, was beautifully rich and creamy, spiced with turmeric, coriander seeds, cumin seeds and of course red chilli, and balanced with creamy coconut milk. In one word: delicious.
The dry lamb curry, also I believe from Goa, was even more delicious, if that’s even possible. Marinated in rum and mint, the lamb was so succulent and full of flavour that it had us all fighting for the last piece!
To bring out the flavour of both the curries, a dish of cardamom-spiced garlic pilau rice was served, with flavours so tasty that it could have served as a dish all on its own.
A vegetarian side dish of pea-stuffed aubergine was incredible. I heard comments around the table from people saying they normally didn’t like aubergine but adored this one.
The dhal was certainly the blandest of all the dishes. This is not to say that we didn’t enjoy it, as actually it was perhaps a blessing to have a more neutral, calming dish to bring our taste buds back to earth after all the other dishes had them dancing like crazy!
Dessert was a delicious rum and raisin cake with rum butter sauce. Normally this sort of cake doesn’t particularly thrill me, but wonder-chef Seema converted me. It was somehow light at the same time as being rich, and the vanilla-infused sponge was wonderfully soft and moist, even without adding the rum butter sauce. But, trust me, you want that rum butter sauce. I forced myself to finish my slice despite the protests my already-full stomach was giving me.
Seema’s meal at her house costs $500 a head (we paid $450 to host it elsewhere). Agreed it’s not the cheapest meal, but you will walk away full to the brim of delicious food that you’re unlikely to find elsewhere in Hong Kong. The lovely Seema spends two full days sourcing and preparing the food to ensure that every dish is utter perfection and every mouthful clearly represents the passion she so lovingly puts into it.
Contact Seema to enquire about bookings: firstname.lastname@example.org
Or call +852 9548 5280