Touted as “The Official Restaurant of the South African Family”, the Spur Group has made their mark in Zimbabwe. The Silver Spur is no exception and trade was brisk on the cold evening that we dined there. The décor is very much in keeping with the wild west theme, right down to the faux brown and white “raw hide” upholstery as you enter the restaurant. Seating is at fixed tables and comfortable benches — relaxed and suitable for family outings. There is a children’s play area.
We were ushered to our table and spent some time perusing the menu. I needed my reading glasses and needless to say, bother! I had gone and left my specs at home! So I had to hold the menu a vast distance away from me so that I could decipher the tasty delights. This procedure both embarrassed the younger members of my family and amused adjacent patrons. Everything sounded delicious, and the pictures looked scrumptious, those I could see, of course. The menu invited patrons to sample the delights of their “Vegetable Garden” salad bar, but our waiter informed us that this had been discontinued. The kiddies section of the menu is reasonably priced.
Our order was taken efficiently; crumbed mushrooms — an all-time favourite which somewhat justified the price tag of US$10, and interesting sounding quesadillas for a reasonable US$3 as our hors d’ouvres. These were served speedily and the quesadillas were simply delicious, jam-packed with a cheesy chicken filling with a tangy sauce on the side. They were accompanied by a tiny imitation of a salad and a teaspoon of guacamole. The portion of mushrooms was generous but they were disappointingly soft and soaked in oil, although the “crumb” part was tasty.
Since we were at a Steak Ranch, we ordered what we thought would be a good variety of cuts of steak. Our younger son opted for the 300g fillet steak (US$17) while the elder couldn’t resist a man-sized T-Bone steak (US$20). The Spur actually offers a “beefing-up” option whereby you can have an even larger portion of beef for an extra US$2!
Curious to investigate a different option, I went for the slimmer’s rump steak (US$12) which was accompanied by a Greek side salad. We tried three of the Spur sauces; mushroom, monkey gland and chilli (US$2 each). My verging-on-vegetarian daughter could not be tempted to a red meat dish, and chose the BBQ chicken breast (US$8). All main courses are served with a choice of chips, rice, jacket potato or sadza.
Dessert options were limited — strange for a busy Saturday night, but our waiter insisted that the brownies and waffles (both US$4) were the only choices, other than ice-cream-based desserts. The brownie was large in size, but small in flavour, and dry. The waffle was pleasant enough, but the serving of syrup was miserly. The children enjoyed their double-thick milkshakes (US$4).
The cup of coffee we had at the end of the meal was probably one of the worst I have ever tasted — or rather, it had virtually no taste at all. I was extremely irritated by this because I had spied a genuine coffee machine when we went into the restaurant, and mistakenly believed that genuine coffee would be served. Why is it still so difficult to get a decent cup of coffee in so many restaurants?
Our overall opinion, of the Silver Spur, which began well, was soured somewhat by these various issues. The sad thing is that it could be so good, and great for a family outing, but the meals simply did not match the descriptions on the menu.
Expect to spend between US$20 – US$30 per head
The Holiday Inn, Samora Machel Ave, Harare