We were the only diners among the patrons on Saturday and unfortunately there is only a dish of the day on weekdays.
However, the menu is more extensive than before and includes teas, coffees, muffins, a basket of pastries and, rather incongruously, “a high tea”. Then there are a range of tramezzinis and toasted sandwiches catering for both vegetarians and carnivores, pot pie of the day, hamburgers and prego rolls. There is also a meze option where you can create your own platter of snacks. My suspicions aroused, I later confirmed that the same menu is on offer in the Meikles Lounge.
The bar has an extensive range of drinks available as befits a five star hotel establishment. Seated with a short order of a cold beer and a cider, my companion and I took stock of our surroundings. The décor of “old colonial” has not changed much over the years and is no doubt intended to impart an “Out of Africa” feel to international travellers. It seems a little tired, and the bar could certainly do with some windows to the outside world, and even better would be an outside patio area. An unwelcome addition, in my opinion, are the two large flat screen televisions, one transmitting football at mercifully low volume and the other a muted News Channel. I ensured that we were seated such that our attention was not continuously diverted by the actions on the screens.
I was tempted by the pot pie of chicken and mushroom but opted for the steak and grilled onion baguette served with chips and salad. My companion chose the tomato and feta quiche served with salad. Service was efficient and friendly and the presentation of the food was excellent. The plates were warmed, the salad garnishes were crisp and lightly dressed and bowls of tomato sauce and vinegar were provided for the chips. The quiche was individually, and freshly, baked with a phyllo pastry base and whilst the steak was more well-done than medium it was a generous portion and enjoyment of the food was evidenced by the clean plates.
Whilst we drank our filter coffees, which were acceptable, we observed the comings and goings. A party of smartly attired groomsmen awaited a wedding upstairs, guests popped in for a quick drink, and as a family, were absorbed in watching the television. One wedding guest, a visitor to this country, who tried to pay for a drink with a VISA debit card suddenly found herself in trouble as cards are apparently only accepted with additional identification which she didn’t have with her.
Explorer’s Bar does not offer anything out of the ordinary that would make me travel into town to pay it a visit. However, for city workers and those who find themselves in the city centre with an hour to kill, I would recommend it. Good food, acceptably priced, pleasant surroundings, friendly service, clean toilets and a break from the madding crowds.
Expect to spend US$10 – US$20 for a pub meal
Meikles Hotel, Third Street, Harare