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La Patisserie—Pleasant coffee shop

As we sat at a nice window table for two, we could see hordes of people marching past outside, crossing the expansive parking area around the Rainbow Towers. The waiter explained to us that the Conference Centre was housing a church meeting.

Report by Le Connoisseur

A few minutes before, we had made our own way from the parking area into the tall Rainbow Towers Hotel. After a quick enquiry at Reception, we were shown the Gazebo area on the ground floor, with La Patisserie’s glass vitrine positioned just at its entrance, enticing guests to sample a little savoury snack or have a cup of coffee and a slice from one of the array of classical cakes on offer.

We were immediately lured to the vitrine showing off La Patisserie’s wares. There were sweet croissants, Danish pasties, Chelsea buns, chicken and beef pies, as well as the cakes: carrot, chocolate, black forest, fruit and vanilla, and in addition, pecan nut pie and marble cake. We chatted to one of the waiters who was standing at the vitrine and made our choice of pie: one chicken and one beef pie. We also asked for a tropical juice and an apple juice. Alas, the apple juice was not available so I changed to an orange juice.

The waiter showed us to our window table, and we sat down and observed those hordes of people coming past in an endless stream. All were well-dressed and numbered, so it seemed,well over a thousand; it was quite an eye-catching parade! Soon the waiter brought our drinks and I happily saw that there was a glass of apple juice after all. “I hunted around for you, and found your apple juice, sir,” he explained in his friendly manner.

My wife and I chatted about education in Zimbabwe, a topic near to my heart, and we were so engrossed that it seemed no time had elapsed before the pies were brought. They had been warmed up and were presented on a plate with a few leaves of different lettuce and some tomato and cucumber slices as well as some rings of sliced onion. I asked our waiter whether everything was made in house or whether caterers delivered the pies and cakes. He informed me with a pleasant smile that everything was made in the kitchens of the Rainbow Towers Hotel.

We delved into our pies. The pie crust — made from puff pastry — was nice and light, with not too much butter between layers. The beef was perhaps a little too salty, but the chicken was lovely. The quantity of filling was generous as well; not like some pies one finds, that are more crust than stuffing. The complimentary little salad had fresh lettuce, but the slices of tomato, onion and cucumber had been sliced some hours before — as happens in big kitchens — and had not been kept covered, so were now dry and unattractive.

By the time we had finished our pies, the hordes of church conference goers had finally started to thin out. We asked our waiter, as he took away our plates, for a slice of carrot cake and a slice of the pecan nut pie. These we ordered with some filter coffee and a cappuccino. The pecan nut pie was delicious, well-filled with nuts, the carrot cake a bit dry. The coffee was fresh, dark and hot; lovely. We voted La Patisserie a very pleasant coffee shop, for coffee and cake or a light savoury bite, with friendly service.

Coffee Shop
3 Plates
Expect to spend US$10 to US$15 per head
Rainbow Towers Hotel, Harare

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