On a warm winter’s afternoon, we wandered into a seemingly quiet Sandawana restaurant in the Cresta Jameson Hotel on Samora Machel Avenue. We were quickly seated and service began immediately. On offer were the à la carte menu and the buffet lunch. I went with the à la carte and my partner opted for the buffet as she was in the mood for various tastes and did not want to settle on a single dish.
I browsed through the menu while she wandered off to scrutinise the substantial spread afforded by the buffet. I ordered the enticingly described “smoked salmon and spinach roulade salad served with anchovies and herb pesto” for my starter, and for main course, the chilli rape stuffed chicken supreme, served with peanut enhanced fruit compôte, seasonal vegetables, mash and a chicken jus.
My partner returned from the buffet which was set up beautifully with a good variety of salads with which to commence; coleslaw, green salad, and greek salad, as well as separate servings of tomato, onions and butternut. She chose the greek salad which was refreshing with a delicious dressing. I was amused by her tiny portion but she explained she was leaving room to savour more delights from the buffet!
When my starter arrived, I began to question my decision to eat à la carte as the serving was quite small and I was feeling rather famished. It comprised three small salmon rolls wrapped around spinach; the anchovy looked and tasted more like tuna and the pesto tasted more like tangy mayonnaise, but I was mollified by the delicious salmon which I really enjoyed.
It was soon clear that the Sandawana buffet is popular for lunch as quite a crowd had now appeared! There are regular conferences and functions at the hotel too, so the buffet is on —demand.
My partner made her way back and approached the vast array of mains, returning with a well-stocked plate of rice, pork, chicken, coleslaw, rape and beef with barbeque sauce.
The chicken and rice were perfectly cooked and deliciously spicy, while the beef was a bit tough. The pork was a bit under-seasoned, but overall, she reported that, the meal tasted great.
My main course arrived with lots of mash and a rather smaller piece of chicken, sliced and stuffed with rape, as promised. It was well-cooked and delicious, though I could neither isolate the taste of, nor visually identify, the “peanut enhanced fruit compôte”. The mixed vegetables included carrots, broccoli and green peppers, all cooked perfectly.
For dessert, I chose the cheesecake, but unfortunately they had run out, so I settled for the black forest cake and coffee. My partner was positively overwhelmed with dessert choices at the buffet.
There were at least half a dozen choices for pudding, amongst them cakes, apple crumble and scones stuffed with whipped cream and topped with chocolate sauce garnished with spun sugar.
She helped herself to some of each and added a scoop of ice cream and cream! The apple crumble was lovely — sweet and spicy with hints of cinnamon and raisins. My cake was light and fluffy with lots of creamy icing.
We thoroughly enjoyed our desserts and overall we had a good meal in a comfortable and welcoming environment. Next time, being a hearty eater, I think I will opt for the buffet, as it is very tasty and varied and very good value for money.
Expect to spend US$20 to US$30 per head
Jameson Hotel, Cnr Samora Machel Ave and Park Street