The return of DV8

Three-and-a-half years after DV8 fairly suddenly closed at Groombridge—one of several properties demolished to make way for Bridge Spar — it finally reopened at Kamfinsa Park.

By dusty miller

I had Sunday lunch at Groombridge on its final trading day and partner James Davies insisted I should be at Kamfinsa for its first day of operations on December 1.
The Davies family has clearly thrown a whole stack of cash at this project and DV8, with its capacity to feed 160 covers simultaneously, is probably the largest standalone restaurant in the country.

For a relatively “soft” opening night James Davies restricted service to 110 pax, but that was optimistic given green staff unused to working together, building jobs not quite finished by dilatory contractors and a major power outage/outrage which didn’t help matters.

Many fellow Zimbabweans are far less patient than yours truly when it comes to service in eateries and the muttering, body language and lip-read comments witnessed expressed little sympathy with management which struggled manfully that opening night.

Returning next day for morning coffee, things were a bit brighter, more cheerful (although the coffee machine was “down” 20 minutes or so) and I had misgivings about hosting a Greendale Good Food & Wine Appreciation Society function there not quite three months later.

But members were enthusiastic. One offered to act as liaison officer, organising a splendid two or three-course package deal for US$20/US$25 respectively. Sadly, he booked us in the Friday after our actual planned visit! (Maybe drinks had been taken?) Thankfully, James coped with the revised date!

Set menu
We booked for 15 to 18 members and 17 showed up. The set-menu-with-options deal included starters of what I heard was a wonderful fungi-thick home-made mushroom soup; chicken livers or hunter’s pot (chicken giblets): Enormous individual three-legged potjies full of “offaly” good rich, meaty, offal in a tangy medium-hot chilli sauce; fried haloumi Cypriot cheese; “Super Spud” a large baked jacket potato loaded with cheese, crispy bacon, butter and sour cream.

Or the golden crumbed deep fried button mushrooms with tartare sauce which most of us chose. At many Zimbabwean restaurants you’re served half a dozen; some cheapskate operations slash that to four or five, but DV8 serve up no fewer than eight wonderful examples tasting straight from a forest. Starters are US$5-US$8 on the a la carte menu.

They’d already thrown in a crisp, crunchy, colourfully comprehensive table salad for each three or four punters, rich in different types of unctuous olives and a delightfully salty feta cheese and the home-baked super fresh loose crumbed cottage loaves for which they’re renowned, with salted or garlic butter.

Another bonsella was that young talented local artiste, Christina Jenkins, who will be entertaining there each Wednesday supper was checking sound volumes and warbled away requests from GGF&WAS members, most of them old enough to be her grand-dad! She sang beautifully!

DV8 (Groombridge was so far out of town you had to Dee-Vee-Ate to get there…geddit?) had a slogan “Steaks To Leave Home For” and judging from the look on members’ faces, as they munched and masticated masterfully, the same applies at Kamfinsa, where you must deviate even farther!

Main courses in our package were fillet steak: 260g flash dipped in a special basting sauce and char-grilled. All beef is selected from export quality herds, hung for a month and cooked by, or under the watchful eye of, head chef Claudius Mupawana, who held that post at Groombridge, but was traced to and recruited back from Hermanus in the Cape to the state-of-the-art brand new kitchens.

Rumps weigh 300g and all steaks come with a choice of sauce: Pepper, mushroom, tournedos, pizzaiola,garlic, piri-piri, mustard or monkey gland. Starches offered are chips, mashed potatoes, baked spuds or rice with seasonal vegetables.

Baby chicken
Or there was whole baby chicken, piri-piri or lemon and herb… or steak-and-kidney or chicken pot pies… …or an unspecified vegetarian dish (really?)… Or DV8 gourmet burgers.

Or Kariba bream: I had two lovely pearlescent fillets, grilled instead of battered and deep-fried or shallow-fried and served with a large baked potato with sour cream, creamed spinach, butternut, savoury rice mould and fringe of salad with sauce tartare. Mains are US$16-US$22 if ordered separately.

The only complaint I heard was that portions were unmanageably large and several blokes took away substantial doggy bags. (Whether pooches ever sampled them is another matter!)

With my fish and a pal’s chicken we shared a bottle of Bon Courage 2012 Hillside White, a piquant, light blend of Chardonnay and Colombard redolent of peaches, pears and lemons, which goes even better with pukkah seafood. This is estate produced in the Cape where the Breede River meets the Langeberg mountain range. I think I won it in a blue@2 Private Wine Bar quiz! DV8 waives corkage for parties. Good wine and cocktail list. Local beers are US$2 each.

The brand new, purpose-built restaurant is an odd combination of stark minimalism (bare concrete-screed floor and IBR roof sheets) with luxury touches like acres of etched glass and repro French Empire style chandeliers. Service at our lunch was relatively seamless, certainly much improved from the stark nervousness of opening day.

Puddings are US$3 to US$7 on a la carte and, from the top end, I enormously enjoyed an ebony and ivory: white and dark chocolate mousses layered under vanilla ice-cream, topped by a plump strawberry during my previous visit. Last week no one had room for dessert, effectively a US$5 supplement, and a choice between ebony and ivory, crème caramel, fruit salad, wonderful Malva pudding from South Africa or the ubiquitous ice-cream and chocolate sauce.

I can thoroughly recommend the Caturra (Brazilian) coffee which—I think—DV8 sells exclusively in Zimbabwe; they also make very fine milk shakes.

garlic, piri-piri, mustard or monkey gland. Starches offered are chips, mashed potatoes, baked spuds or rice.

Baby chicken
Or there was whole baby chicken, piri-piri or lemon and herb… or steak-and-kidney or chicken pot pies… …or an unspecified vegetarian dish (really?)… Or DV8 gourmet burgers.

Or Kariba bream: I had two lovely pearlescent fillets, grilled instead of battered and deep-fried or shallow-fried and served with a large baked potato with sour cream, creamed spinach, butternut, savoury rice mould and fringe of salad with sauce tartare. Mains are US$16-US$22 if ordered separately.

The only complaint I heard was that portions were unmanageably large and several blokes took away substantial doggy bags. (Whether pooches ever sampled them is another matter!)

With my fish and a pal’s chicken, we shared a bottle of Bon Courage 2012 Hillside White, a piquant, light blend of Chardonnay and Colombard redolent of peaches, pears and lemons, which goes even better with pukkah seafood. This is estate produced in the Cape where the Breede River meets the Langeberg mountain range. I think I won it in a blue@2 Private Wine Bar quiz! DV8 waives corkage for parties. Good wine and cocktail list. Local beers are US$2 each.

The brand new, purpose-built restaurant is an odd combination of stark minimalism (bare concrete-screed floor and IBR roof sheets) with luxury touches like acres of etched glass and repro French Empire style chandeliers. Service at our lunch was relatively seamless, certainly much improved from the stark nervousness of opening day.

Puddings are US$3 to US$7 on a la carte and, from the top end, I enormously enjoyed an ebony and ivory: White and dark chocolate mousses layered under vanilla ice-cream, topped by a plump strawberry during my previous visit. Last week no one had room for dessert, effectively a US$5 supplement and a choice between ebony and ivory, crème caramel, fruit salad, wonderful Malva pudding from South Africa or the ubiquitous ice-cream and chocolate sauce.

I can thoroughly recommend the Caturra (Brazilian) coffee which — I think — DV8 sells exclusively in Zimbabwe; they also make very fine
milkshakes.

DV8, George Square, Kamfinsa (underneath Pick ‘n’ Pay). Open for breakfast 8am to supper 11pm Monday-to-Saturday; Sunday 8am-4pm. Fully licensed, well- stocked bar (diners only). Smoking on stoep, bar and lounge; no smoking main dining room; child’s play room; handicapped friendly, live music on Wednesday evenings. Safe parking. Tel +263 497 477; +263 497 773.
l dustym@zimind.co.zw

DV8, George Square, Kamfinsa (underneath Pick ‘n’Pay). Open for breakfast 8am to supper 11pm Monday-to-Saturday; Sunday 8am-4pm. Fully licensed, well stocked bar (diners only). Smoking on stoep, bar and lounge; no smoking main dining room; child’s play room; handicapped friendly, live music on Wednesday evenings. Safe parking. Tel +263 497 477; +263 497 773.
dustym@zimind.co.zw

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