flavour train

Hello there! Welcome to this post and as always, Thank you for stopping by!

My friends recently had lunch with me at the Talisman in Karen. We had such an amazing afternoon and am grateful to them for making this post happen.

MENU

DRINKS

As we waited for our starters, we sipped our cold beverages while soaking in the noon-time sun and enjoying the cool Karen breeze. Joan had a Turmeric-Ginger lemonade (400/=), Michelle had a caramel milkshake (750/=) and I had fresh pineapple juice (400/=).

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You can choose to have packed juice or fresh juice (depending on what is in-season) which is what I opted for. It was fresh, had no added sugar and very tasty. The caramel milkshake was a bit too milky and wasn’t as thick as we would have preferred. Nonetheless, the flavour was really good, and I appreciated the variety of flavours they had; not just the usual vanilla and strawberry.

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Joan’s lemonade was really nice. This healthy drink was very tasty and had a strong turmeric and ginger flavour. None overpowered the other and each could be tasted. I highly recommend their unique variety of lemonades/healthy drinks. If the turmeric ginger, was anything to go by, I believe they all taste great.

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STARTERS

Michelle convinced Joan and I to try something we all had never tried before. Sushi! I am sure most people view sushi as unpalatable raw fish. However, this is far from true. Sushi is now my thing because of the Dynamite Maki we had! From now on, I will not frown at the mention of sushi; but simply dive in with an open-mind.

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We had Dynamite Maki, Talisman Nyati Wings and Feta and Coriander Samosas as our starter.
Dynamite Maki was 1,050/=. It was basically raw salmon, avocado, cucumber, sushi rice and sweet chilli sauce wrapped in a black nori sheet (seaweed). This flavour combination literally made me realise how much I still hadn’t explored in the world of food. It was delicious! This roll of goodness came with a side of chilli soy sauce to dunk it i,n before throwing it all in your mouth. Yes. You don’t bite!

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It was soft, easy to chew and very delicious. All the ingredients complemented extremely well. I liked the fact that the chilli was not overbearing; allowing you to appreciate the other ingredients. The raw salmon didn’t taste like raw fish, but instead tasted like ham or some meat you wouldn’t mind cold. It had its own unique taste; that I appreciated. All I didn’t like was the green wasabi paste on the side. That has its  people!

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FINAL VERDICT: If you’ve never tried sushi, try this dynamite maki and slowly make your way up the ladder to completely raw fish on its own.
Finally, contrary to popular opinion, it is not dangerous to eat raw fish. When well prepared, it is fine and has no detriment to your health. This is not to say you ask for raw salmon in a kibanda. No! Ensure you order it at a restaurant that has specialised in preparing sea food or seems to have several sea food items on the menu. This shows their vast knowledge in that cuisine.

Talisman Nyati Wings @ 1,050/= was impeccable too! Despite being a bit oily, they were very tender and juicy. The side dip of blue cheese and chive (vegetable in the onion family with a more subtle taste), provided a thick delicious dip you could easily scoop with your wing.

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The flavours married beautifully and the dip gave a great texture contrast to the crunchy (due to breadcrumbs) wings. They were served with fresh, crunchy celery and carrot sticks.

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Talisman gives their coriander and feta samosas as a complimentary to each guest who orders a meal. These generously filled, cheesy samosas, are a great vegetarian starter option. They are served with a chilli-ginger jam.

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Feta is a kind of cheese with a salty tangy taste. The well distributed coriander (dhania) known to many of us in meat samosas or the famous roadside smokie pasua; complemented the soft cheese and  completed the flavour train with a bang! The chilli ginger jam for me was more like a tasty sweet chilli jam-paste. I unfortunately didn’t taste the ginger.

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MAIN COURSE

Michelle had a sweet, coconut, spicy Prawn and Calamari Stir Fry, @ 1,950/=. It was served with steamed rice, dried coconut and a clear chilli sauce. The vegetables included: capsicum (peppers), zucchini (courgette) and carrots. It was then garnished (decorated) with thin slices of those vegetables.

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Having never had a fish curry, I believe, Talisman has set the bar pretty high for others I am to taste. It was delicious! The thick sauce coated each piece of prawn and calamari and had the perfect balance of sweet and spicy. It was a very generous serving that I believe can be shared by two.

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The steamed rice was well cooked and went very well with the fish sauce. For those who may not know, prawn and calamari are two different types of fish. One is white and often prepared in breadcrumbs, and the other is normally pink in colour and only a part of it is eaten. Check my post: The Karen Feast.

Joan had one of the items on the Chefs Seasonal Menu. She opted for BBQ Yakatori Duck Legs @ 1,750/=. I kid you not, a whole duck was brought sizzling hot to our table. I don’t really know what to call the small grill it came on that continued to cook it slowly; but I found this very unique.

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The duck was served with Bao Buns. This is a sweet bread like pastry. It was like a chapati but fatter, sweeter and not fried. It is cooked by wet steaming. I liked it a lot and had never tasted anything like it!
It also came with two salads. One consisted: a vegetable known as bok choy (its green and leafy), snap peas and garnished with sesame seeds. It was delicious. This fried vegetable was  flavourful, fresh, crunchy and well seasoned.

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The other salad (Som Tum) was a combination of nuts, lemongrass, ginger and unripe pawpaw on a bed of lettuce. It gave a punch of flavour, and was extremely delicious. The ginger dressing drizzled on top, not only, gave it the flavour punch it needed, but also, complemented the lemongrass flavour very well. Beside it, is the sweet flatbread I was talking about.

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I believe the fluffy mashed potatoes and one of the salads was not supposed to be there. It was too much food for one person! The mashed potatoes were smooth, creamy and very flavourful. They were also well seasoned, allowing you to enjoy it on its own.

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The star of the show: DUCK, was amazing! It was cooked with a few sliced onions and peppers and had a distant chilli flavour that complemented it really well. If you compare this duck and the one I had at Ole Sereni for way more money, I prefer this one a thousand times over the Ole Sereni one. (Read that post here:Great Portions @ Big Five Restaurant.) It was juicy, soft and tender. You could taste each of the ingredients, and was an amazing portion! I believe this tasted better than any chicken I have ever had. Take my word for it and give this duck a shot. You will not be disappointed.

I had Char Grilled Fillet Steak @ 2,050/= on a bed of grilled capsicum (peppers/hoho), crispy potato bhajiaand a side sauce of wasabi & mustard hollandaise (egg yolks, lemon juice, mustard, wasabi (cabbage & horseradish) paste and butter). The portion was rather small. Actually, too small for my liking. Despite this, I managed to enjoy every bit of it.

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The steak was tender, soft, done to my liking and well seasoned. I would like to appreciate this because so many times, steak ends up not well cooked and is not pleasing to your taste buds at all! This steak was very delicious! Well done Talisman! As for the bhajias, they were very tasty. I loved the large size. They were crispy, evenly cooked, well seasoned and were a great combination with the steak.

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Grilled capsicum was my favorite. The peppers weren’t dry. They were still crunchy and had a nice grill-flavour. I also really like how it was presented under the steak.
The hollandaise sauce was not palatable at all for me. It was extremely buttery and had a bit too much lemon for my liking. Let’s just say, am not a hollandaise fan; because am sure, there are people who like it like that.

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DESSERT

At this point, we were already so full and so, opted for two light desserts to share. First up: Chocolate Fondant (750/=). This was a warm belgian chocolate cake, served with vanilla ice cream on a tuile (baked wafer) and a side of orange curd.

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The chocolate cake came warm and was well presented. It wasn’t too sweet; which is always a mojor turn-off in the dessert sector. Many fail to understand that adding sugar to something, doesn’t make it better. Talisman knows the value of airy, moist and soft cake. When combined with the vanilla ice cream, orange curd and the wafer, it was crowned the ultimate comfort food. The cold vanilla ice cream contrasted the warm cake and the orange curd broke the monotony of the usual vanilla-chocolate flavour.

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Second, was Affogato (450/=). This was vanilla ice cream, with a cup of espresso and mocha meringues.

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Meringues are sweet, airy cookies that crumble to several pieces when bitten. They are made from egg whites and sugar and so are very light. The crumbly texture and soft, smooth vanilla ice cream married together very well with a nice coffee undertone. This is definitely for the coffee lovers!

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That marks the end of our Flavour Train journey! I truly had an amazing time trying all these menu items and I am grateful to The Talisman for redefining certain flavours for me and showing me that there are restaurants that truly provide their guests with a unique culinary experience.

I believe you can agree with me when I say, they have a wide variety of dishes; each well thought out and carefully put together, to ensure the high quality is maintained. Have a quick look at all the words in bold, and note the amazing flavour combinations and unique dishes!

I would love to hear from you:

What did you learn in this post? (I actually learnt so much). 

What will you probably try when you visit Talisman?

If you’ve been there, what have you had before that was amazing?

Do let me know in the comment section below! 

Thank you for stopping by and for sticking around this lengthy post!
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