HomeWining & DiningLunching late at Café Espresso, Avondale

Lunching late at Café Espresso, Avondale

My “Partner in Dine” was something of a wreck, having spent the night barricaded into her bedroom with two small children, her husband 300km away on the mine without cellphone signal and the electric fence alarm loudly proclaiming that the “barbarian hoards” were about lay siege to the property.

Report By Le Connoisseur

We set off across town in search of a “something or other” that was supposed to return the electric fence to its necessarily reliable state and soon, with the air-con blasting and the music thumping, we were beginning to feel like a couple of kids out on a jaunt.

Having acquired the “something or other” and visited a few little shops, specialising in all things girly, we decided we’d better have a bite to eat and something long and cool to quench our thirst. Café Espresso it was. Nestled in a pretty garden just around the corner from Kensington shops, with easy parking. Perfect!

We were greeted warmly and allowed to decide where to sit. We chose a spot under an umbrella, which was a silly choice as the table was designed for coffee cups, not plates full of food, with a lip around the edge of the table that made our plates wobble alarmingly, or if we pushed them far enough back not to wobble, left us in danger of dropping food down our fronts. No matter.  It was our choice and no-one’s fault.

Our smiling waitress, Shuvai, brought us each a menu and with a G and T and rock shandy on order, we began perusing the menu and ruing the late hour. Café Espresso have an excellent breakfast menu and it would be worth the trip to sample the flapjacks with bacon and syrup. Sadly, breakfast serving was over, so we had to move on in the menu.

It was at this point that my companion noticed that I was “umming” and “aahing” over a page that was missing from her menu.  We asked for another and found that menu was also missing a page!



This caused a fit of the giggles, but also drew our attention to the fact that the menus, which are in essence nicely presented, need a bit of a revamp, the metal page holders block off part of the description and the missing pages should be replaced.

Traditional to the core, my friend settled on ox-tail and I went with the chicken fettuccini with pesto. We should have gone with a salad, it was really too hot and too late to be eating such hearty meals, especially as our drinks were going down like home sick moles, tinkling with ice and fabulously refreshing, a liquid lunch would have been a good option, but we’d still got errands to run and a fair drive home too.

We noticed a couple of business men at one of the dining tables across the garden, they had quite obviously decided on a liquid lunch and one of them had become rather vociferous, the staff managed to usher the pair off the premises with professional smiles and much shaking of hands. Nicely handled.

There were a couple of other late lunches in progress on the veranda and we were impressed by the range of seating options available, including comfy sofas with newspapers. The firewood stacked up in a metal cage on the veranda is an attractive feature.  The layout at Café Espresso invites you to sit back and relax for a while.

Our food arrived, pleasingly presented. My friend’s ox-tail was a small portion, but tasty, and the meat fell off the bone, no need to make a meal of the whole affair and pick it up in your fingers. My chicken was served with an enormous bed of spaghetti and lashings of pink pesto and the expected chicken breast was actually bits of chicken formed into a breast shape, still, the flavour was good, although I didn’t stand a chance of finishing it.

Shuvai retuned mid-meal to ask if we’d like more drinks and to check if the food was being enjoyed.  We didn’t and it was. She also spared us the risk of more missing menu pages by telling us that we could have chocolate cake for pudding. It sounded good, but it really was rather warm and we were way too full to contemplate anything cakey.

The restaurant has a good range of coffees on offer too, but we were hot and full so coffee was just not an option, although my dining companion assures me that on previous visits the coffee has always been good and my last visit to the airport Café Espresso, not so long ago, backs up her assessment.

The bill arrived shortly after we’d assured the staff that we really couldn’t eat or drink another thing and we were a little taken aback by the US$46 that it came to, excluding a tip, which was well-deserved as the service was good.

With smiles and waves we were escorted to the gate, satisfied and ready to wrap up our errands in the area.

Deluxe Coffee Shop
3 Plates
Expect to spend US$10 – US$25 per head
49 Cork Road, Avondale, Harare.

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