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Catching up at Coimbra

Keen to catch up with an old friend, we made plans to meet at the ever popular Coimbra on Selous Avenue for lunch.

By Le Connoiseur

We arrived around 12.30 pm and the room was quiet with a few tables occupied. However, most of the empty tables were reserved. A waiter directed us to our table and gave us menus. We ordered Malawi shandies and perused the menu, written in English and Portuguese.

It starts with soups, salads, starters and extras. To start, I opted for the giblets while my friend chose the traditional Portuguese salad. For main courses, there was a wide variety of seafood including hake, king klip, sole and prawns, various steaks and the house specialty —their famous piri piri half chicken.

I opted for prawns with salad, my friend chose the chicken with rice. The restaurant was filling up steadily and we beckoned our waiter to come and take our order. Warm, fresh bread was delivered with garlic sauce and spicy gravy for dipping. This was so delicious and perfect for a rainy day.

Our starters arrived quickly. The giblets were served steaming hot and I found them to be well-seasoned and perfectly spicy. I usually complain that starter servings are tiny but this was a huge helping — plenty to share with someone else. The traditional Portuguese salad comprised cheese, tomatoes, cucumber, onions and olives served on a bed of shredded lettuce.

We finished our starters and I proceeded to regale my friend with tales from my recent holiday, while the waiter cleared our plates and returned with the main course.

I squeezed fresh lemon juice onto my prawns, which were well-cooked, tender and full of flavour. The salad was another large helping of lettuce topped with tomato, onion and cucumber. There was no salad dressing as such, but oil and vinegar is supplied at all tables so you can mix your own. Though quite pricey, I considered the delicious prawns well worth it! The chicken was soft, succulent and tender.

By now, we wanted to order more drinks but just could not seem to attract a waiter’s attention. By 1:30pm the restaurant was packed and we remained unsuccessful at getting a waiter to notice our empty glasses. Luckily, there was a loud gentleman at the table behind us who took it upon himself to holler for assistance! Once he was noticed, we were able to get our drinks order too!

Having finished our main we decided to have dessert and once again it was almost impossible to get ourselves noticed by a waiter so we could ask for a menu. Luckily, I had many holiday photos to share and we were able to keep ourselves occupied and wait semi-patiently. When we finally received the menus we ordered crème caramel for me and chocolate mousse for my friend. To avoid further delays it seemed a good idea to go ahead and order our cappuccinos at the same time!

I enjoyed my dessert; it was soft, creamy and not too sweet. The chocolate mousse was truly delicious with a rich chocolate decadence. We finished off our meals with sweet cappuccinos. It had been a pleasant dining excursion but not spectacular.

It is a good venue for meeting friends and for business lunches. However, given the evident popularity of the restaurant and comments made by previous reviewers, I feel that additional waiting staff would improve the experience dramatically and see this restaurant earning a higher plate rating.

Family Restaurant
3 Plates
Expect to Spend US$20 – US$40 per head
Selous Avenue, Harare

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