I’m unsure why I went to Theo’s House of Coffees/One67, sometimes called The Stables on Friday, but I’m glad I did.
Eating out with Dusty Miller
Currently there’s no signage outside its rambling acreage, but it’s at 167, Enterprise Road; Theo Nel is part owner (his mum, Lolly, runs it); there were livery stables on the property within living memory! So call it what you will, but technically it’s Theo’s House of Coffees.
Things had changed since my last visit. It’s years since the Colonial farmstead-style eatery opened for supper; choosing to concentrate on breakfasts and lunches, they packed in the liquor licence. Take your own booze, there’s no corkage.
Theo’s is a splendid little family restaurant. I like al fresco eating when the weather’s right (about 350 days a year!) on maybe three hectares of rolling real estate fringed with venerable trees.
There are several arty-crafty shops dotted around the property and then a little oasis of manicured green lawn, lovely roses and a picture postcard pool.
Matronly part-owner “Lolly” Nel said there were 15 bijoux businesses operating on what was until fairly recently a small-holding, including a used vehicle dealership, run by the eponymous Theo, and stunning garden centre.
It’s a family place, popular with mums collecting leggy gym-slipped offspring from Chisipite schools and a wide selection of appreciative diners-out.
Theo has moved his car business from Msasa onto the property and he lunched with his young family at the next table to mine on a hot cloudless day.
A flock of comical bantams quartered lush lawns for bugs as I sipped lemonade, perusing a compact menu. There’s something very therapeutic about watching poultry peck placidly!
The Nels owned the (then) spectacularly popular Hot Springs Resort near Chimanimani, but had a torrid time with so-called war-vets, who believed they were entitled to walk in and “liberate” it.
They did, in the end, but the army rolled in and kicked out that rabble and Hot Springs: once packed with South African travellers, is now a garrison trying to control apparent total chaos and chicanery of the nearby diamond fields. (Probably adding to it.)
Enjoy Theo’s breakfasts and you can vicariously tour the world! I liked the sound of two Irish potato cakes topped with creamy scrambled egg and tea or coffee at US$7; full English is US$13, Ame-rican pancakes US$7 and French toast US$4!
Bacon and blue cheese was one of seven delicious-sounding
toasties which come with chips and a side salad or you can have it in baked potatoes (or crepes). I opted for what proved to be a huge tasty baked floury potato stuffed with a splendid quantity of creamy chicken and mushroom filling at US$8, with pleasant, substantial side salad.
It was a leisurely meal, ended with vanilla ice-cream and chocolate sauce at US$3 and possibly the nicest iced coffee I’ve ever sipped, also US$3.
Lunches feature great steaks with appropriate sauces at US$15; pork chops (US$10), home-made beef burgers at US$9 and popular juicy chicken schnitzels at US$11.
A special lunch is served Wednesdays. Dubbed the spring fever menu: a choice of pork chop or cottage pie, help-yourself salad buffet of coleslaw, carrot-and-orange, tossed salad, curried banana, Balkan tomato salad, sweetcorn and a grilled vegetable salad. They add ice-cream-and-chocolate sauce or a crepe suzette. True value-for-money at US$10. (Booking usually vital.)
Friday is burger day and the star was a double beef burger, sandwiched with feta cheese, topped with tzatsiki, with chips and salads at US$10. “Ordinary” burgers: Beef, chicken or vegetarian with a sauce, chips and a cool drink are US$8. Prawn curry with rice and sambals: US$15.
If you forget booze, there are a couple of up-market bottle stores within five minutes’ drive.
They open 8am-5pm daily. Telephone: 443720 or 0772 881 877.
Theo’s House of Coffees, 167, Enterprise Road (opposite Lewisam Motors).
Dusty Miller rating 3,5 stars September 2012. (Maximum for a non-licensed outfit is 4 stars.)