It was a scorcher when we visited the Indaba Book Café, situated on the corner of 9th Avenue and Josiah Tongogara Street in Bulawayo.
By Le connoisseur
We were greeted by the welcome of a smiling waiter and an air-conditioned eating area. Indaba Book Café serves a dual purpose, both serving food throughout the day and offering a selection of books on sale. In the near future the Book Café will expand, with the area now reserved for the display of books being used to extend the dining area. The book section will be housed in an extension being built next door. WiFi is available at the café.
My companion and I sat at a table by the window, allowing us a view of the comings and goings of pedestrians outside. The café is tastefully decorated with ochre walls and wall-hangings, ceramic tiles on the floor and tables covered in brown tablecloths to match the upholstery on the metal framed chairs. Sensibly, on the tablecloths are sheets of glass, which are easily wiped over to keep the café looking fresh and clean. While we were there it was noticeable how efficient the waiting staff of two waiters were in wiping down the tables and removing dirty crockery.
For lunch-time, the café was reasonably full. As soon as we were shown to our table we were presented with the menu, which has a fair choice of steaks, chicken and fish dishes, as well as a reasonably priced snack menu of toasted sandwiches, salads and pies. There was also an interesting looking list of gourmet sandwiches, which can be “fat-free grille” for those who are health conscious. Breakfast can be ordered all day — a boon for those late risers.
There was the usual selection of non-alcoholic drinks, but we both ordered the freshly prepared health juice, that day’s special being carrot and apple, which was excellent. The drinks were brought to us just before the meal itself, which came with little delay. While I ordered the fillet steak, which comes in three sizes, my companion chose the mild chicken curry. The steak was served with a fried egg, chips, fried onions and a salad of lettuce, tomato, cucumber and onion. I was pleased to be given a steak knife. The curry was accompanied by rice, sliced banana and a salad of tomato and onion. I forgot to say how I would like my steak and it was cooked medium. The steak was tender, the salad fresh with a good dressing and the chips hot and just cooked. My companion sliced easily through the juicy chunks of chicken in his curry and thought it was appropriately spiced for a mild curry. As I noticed with other patrons, I was unable to eat everything on my plate and a doggy bag was provided. But, having a sweet tooth, I could just manage a little to finish off my meal so chose a homemade chocolate truffle (the size of a golf ball — not that you’d want to swing at this delicacy), which came with either tea or coffee; I chose the latter. My friend, having a bigger appetite, went for the chocolate cake with filter coffee. Neither of us were disappointed with this chocolate feast to end an enjoyable meal.
The waiters, dressed in black uniforms with edgings of java print, were professional and courteous and were left to get on with their job, which they do very well. There are interesting individual touches, such as the sugar bowls and the pencil-case bill-holders, made of wood and inscribed “Indaba Book Café: Byo”. Our only criticism is that, for our taste, the music could have been a little less obtrusive.
Expect to spend US$15 to US$25 per head
Corner J. Tongogara and 9th Ave, Bulawayo