We entered the building to find a half working escalator…we were grateful it was the going up side that was still working! We were unsure where to sit and eventually decided on a table directly in front of a large mural of a village scene. This mural is extremely detailed, portraying a picture of a typical rural area homestead featuring cows, goats, chickens and various members of a family going about the daily business of cooking, eating and herding cows.
The colour of the restaurant walls are an unusual green which my partner and I instantly liked. The pale cream chairs and tables brought to mind playroom furniture. One side of the restaurant is glass which has bamboo and a trellis fence painted on it.
A waiter approached our table and handed us breakfast menus which offered a full breakfast as well as sandwiches, tea and coffee, he then reappeared with a lunch menu with an extensive array of dishes on it.
They serve your typical restaurant dishes; pork chops, T-bone steak, chicken accompanied by rice, potatoes or sadza as well as specials of the day like chicken fricassee, lasagne, and several fish dishes.
There is also a traditional meals section which offers road runner, beef bones, oxtail, maguru and mazondo with either a rice or sadza accompaniment. Also on offer are puddings and cakes of the day. We were very excited! Sadly, this was short-lived as our waiter advised us of a very limited menu of what was actually available.
He claimed that they had done research and figured out that the most popular dishes for Saturday were steak, chicken and pork chops. I wanted to order sadza and oxtail but ended up ordering a barbecue flavoured quarter chicken and chips accompanied by butternut, beans and carrots. My partner, who is huge fan of breakfast, opted for the full breakfast.
The food was delivered promptly. My chicken and chips were truly delicious. I loved the presentation as well as the taste. The barbecue flavouring was perfect and the chips were crunchy, crisp on the outside, soft on the inside. The vegetables however, were a huge disappointment; they were cold, very cold, as though they had gone directly from the fridge onto my plate. How hard would it have been to warm them up? This level of carelessness really annoys me but I’m always reluctant to make a scene and actually send food back to the kitchen.
My partner’s breakfast consisted of two pieces of toast, two rashers of bacon, a fried egg, a pork sausage, a pancake and baked beans. The toast was hot, perfectly toasted and surprisingly soft. The pancake was savoury and filled with chives. The egg was well-done, which is fortunately the way my partner likes it. We were surprised that she was not asked her preference. It is difficult to cook bacon and sausage incorrectly, so not surprisingly my partner declared hers very good. The baked beans, however, were not hot enough and had very little sauce. Oddly, our coffee was brought to the table pre-poured in a mug which is something new to us. We would have preferred to pour it ourselves as usual.
The waiter was very clear on what was on offer at the beginning of our visit and at no point did he mention dessert or the possibility of “cake of the day”. To be honest, we hadn’t realised that they close at 1 o’clock on Saturdays, but we got the hint when we were presented with our bill at the same time that our food was delivered! We polished off our meals as quick as we could, paid and left.
I imagine that this is a very busy restaurant during the week, especially at lunchtime and I am certainly curious enough to return for a taste of the traditional fare, which sounds like it could be good.
Expect to spend US$3 to US$10 per head
Batanai Garden’s, Jason Moyo Avenue