Ekipa’s INDIAN THURSDAYs
Since its completion, I had always thought that the majestic Hilton Hotel focuses mainly on big events and had no idea there is a restaurant called Ekipa (bones) on the first floor.
The imposing Hilton Hotel is opposite the Windhoek City Council main offices along Independence Avenue close to Freedom Square.
Once on the first floor, one sees shades of pink and blue flickering from a distance and young waitresses standing by the door.
On that Thursday night, the waitresses who welcomed us were dressed in Indian attire.
The reason for the Indian attire is because every Thursday is Indian night thus the staff has to dress accordingly.
The atmosphere in the restaurant presented a homely warm feeling compounded by images of flames flickering from the grill in the kitchen making the ivory ornaments hanging on the walls stand out.
The dining rooms’ wooden floors, which blend well with the mahogany tables, presents a feel of nature and peace allowing the diners to relax on the comfortable arm chairs while listening to classic Indian music in the background.
Two sections and Salon Prive have six very comfortable sitting booths for those with back problems or would want a bit of privacy.
While the other diners chatted and laughed from their respective tables, one could see that they really enjoyed Ekipa’s cosy atmosphere.
A waitress directed us to a table next to the starter and dessert counter close to the kitchen. This was a very good gesture because it meant that the food was just in front of us therefore walking to the buffet table was not going to be a mission.
A waitress served us a complimentary drink, Mango Lassie (made from mangoes and yoghurt) while the executive chef Paul Gindra came to our table to welcome us and explain more about the Thursday Indian night.
He took us on a tour of the buffet counter from starters, main courses and deserts. Everything looked sublime.
The starters ranged from soups to salads and the chef recommended his famous sweet potato Indian soup. The sweet potatoes and the onions are boiled then put in a blender to which they then sprinkle some cumin.
The soup was smooth, not too sweet with the cumin’s spicy touch giving the dish the credit it deserves.
For the main course, Gindra again recommended we try everything on show which we did.
I sampled small portions of different dishes on my plate and when I was done, my plate was filled with different types of meat - lamb korma, chicken tika masala, butter chicken, prawn curry, Durban lamb - and vegetables as well as basmati rice as my starch.
All the food used for the Indian buffet which is halal friendly is prepared differently and eight exclusive Indian spices are used.
The mouth watering, peppery, curried, exquisite food oozing with an enticing aroma sat perfectly on my plate waiting for me to dig in.
Upon tasting the food, all the different flavours of the spices gushed out satisfying all my senses as if the food in my mouth was dancing to the Indian music.
The meat, very fresh and tender, was accompanied by different sources such that one did not really need that much time to chew.
While enjoying the dessert, we sat watching the chefs slaving away in the show kitchen (open plan kitchen usually used by celebrity chefs where everyone can see what is happening in the kitchen ) as they scrambled uniformly to get orders ready for those who prefer ordering from the á la carte menu than having a buffet.
Gindra’s refined cuisine is a gem in a worthy setting with his team of 45 young vibrant chefs and a menu filled with different dishes from around the world inspired by diners from the different parts of the world.
Since they have buffets every day, it is N$187 per person for dinner while one can eat all the oysters they want during dinner and N$165 per person for lunch.
For the á la carte menu, prices range from N$50 to N$115.
Ekipa gets most of its products within the country except for just a few exceptions which they import.
Hilton Windhoek has five food beverage outlets including Ekipa which has made dining a very good experience for people. PF