Of course the first section of the road out of Mutare is a good reminder of what bad potholes look and feel like, but fortunately that is also where it ended… just a few hundred metres before the Inn on the Vumba, the rest of the curvy, climbing road was in pretty good shape… and the views of rolling hills, wattle and other majestic trees and small dams were stunning.
As our little car slowly chugged higher and higher into the cooler air, one could not help but be enveloped by a dreamy sense of peace and calm. Escaping from the rat race, even for a brief moment was absolute bliss.
And then suddenly, as we crawled around one of those sneaky sharp bends, there was the “Tony’s Coffee Shoppe” sign… That little piece of heaven we had heard so much about.
An experience to be had before you die
Having parked off the main road under proud old trees, we meandered down a tiny path and stairs into what seemed like a pristine and beautiful garden with quaint little thatched cottages somewhere high in the Swiss mountains (without the snow of course)… perfectly manicured lawns and tended flower beds, an orchard along the terrace to the front and below.
What an impressive difference to the old Tony’s that used to be a little further up and over the hill past the Bunga Forest.
“Good morning. Welcome…” as Tony himself ushered us into his newly renovated and decorated “coffee and cake heaven” with huge picturesque windows onto the forest on two sides and a breath-taking view over the lawn and tops of orchard and wild trees to the North.
The décor clean with white walls, simply draped tables, the quiet crackle of a fire in the fireplace (yes it was warm outside) and squeaky clean floors. Before sitting down I had to run a quick visit to the loo… and even this private corner felt like a work of art with clever design, cleanliness and calm.
When we sat down, Tony was there in no time with a menu that must have been two metres long!
No, that’s an exaggeration, it must have been half a meter long with a list of coffees, chocolate drinks, home-made lemon or ginger drinks on one side, and a mind-boggling list of teas all down the other… most of which we had never heard of.
The list of cakes for which Tony is known was very small by comparison, but “by George!”, their effect proved to completely outdo the other when we had to put our taste buds to everything.
Absolute culinary poetry! We were not the only clients at Tony’s, and guaranteed, the serving of cakes and teas or coffees were immediately followed by delighted “ooohhhh’s” and “aaahhhh’s” before clients dared to destroy the art with wild abandon.
I ordered Tony’s delightful Cheesecake and the kids ordered a Fruitcake and a luscious and fruity Ganache. The hot beverages were a Malaysian Tea, Filter Coffee with thick, luxurious cream and Hot Chocolate with Chilli.
All of which I can’t even begin to describe other than to say we were in a total heaven of chocolate, cream, flowers, silver tea and coffee pots with dainty and expensive cups and plates complimented with crisp, clean linen napkins; all over-flowing into beautiful picture of satisfied desire, enough to send us out of Zimbabwean reality even if it was for a tiny, magical two hours that went by in a flash.
Apart from being somewhat expensive, with a slice of cake hovering somewhere around US$12 and average coffees and teas hovering at around US$6, this really is an experience to be had before you die.
Tony’s dedication to business
Tony is absolutely dedicated to his small business and his style, passion and love for entertaining with food is clear, not only in the taste and texture of the end product, but also his presentation and finish.
This is clearly a business where the owner invests and reinvests his gains and in my view puts most other restaurants and coffee shops in Zimbabwe to shame with their far- too-ordinary approach.
If anybody is deserving of a seven plate rating and being VERY highly recommended, it has to be Tony’s Coffee Shoppe.
Well done Tony!
5 Plates (plus!)
Expect to Spend US$18 – US$22
Tony’s Coffee Shoppe, 28km peg, Bvumba Road, Bvumba
Telephone: 0772 863267