Having lived in Harare as a “returned resident” for nearly six years, it was about time I ventured up the road to visit Wild Geese Lodge.
By Le Connoisseur
Making a booking was a bit of a mission though. I phoned during lunchtime and it took several attempts to get through. As I glanced at the clock my precious lunch hour had dwindled to minutes.
I vowed to give it one last try and luckily someone answered after about five rings.
The entrance to the lodge is stylish, a bit rustic with modern glam, and perfect for a day-tripper taking time out from the city. Entered into the deluxe family restaurant category, on entry it looked to this reviewer, more deluxe than family.
The view towards the Mazowe Hills jumps out at you as your eyes adjust to the dimly lit interior, illuminated by three large contemporary glass chandeliers. Stepping down from the main lodge, the lawned dining terrace with fluttering umbrellas and white linen tablecloths look charming.
Having deliberately brought our own wine, purely because we didn’t know what to expect, a quick glance at the wine list told me we should have been more trusting. The wine menu has a good variety offering several Sauvignon Blancs, a De Grendel rosé and a La Motte Chardonnay 2008, which would’ve been my choice if we hadn’t bought our own.
There are sparkling wines and champagnes to choose from too. The reds on offer were a De Grendel Merlot 2007 and a Hartenberg Carbernet Sauvignon Shiraz 2008 among a good selection of other notable reds.
Sunday lunchtime always attracts families, and the swimming pool, which is discreetly placed behind the tables, to one side, is ideal for those who want to relax yet keep the little ones occupied and within sight.
There is also space for some gentle playing below the terrace. Apart from the families (some from the diplomatic corps as plenty of CD plates were evident in the car park) there were also well-heeled locals taking time out too.
The menu had the day’s date printed at the top, which was a nice touch. The starters arrived on a large white square platter and looked extremely tempting. Breaded chicken with barbeque sauce, herb crusted beef Carpaccio with wasabi mayonnaise and chicken and mushroom vol au vents.
They were all truly delicious with subtle flavours and that straight from the kitchen freshness. The chicken and mushroom vol au vents were especially good, light, crisp and delicate.
The buffet was set up on a long table groaning with a veritable feast. Rolled chicken breast stuffed with apple and herbs with a sauvignon blanc sauce, roast lamb and mint sauce with rosemary roasted potatoes and gravy, delicately seasoned sautéed vegetables or Greek salad with a herb infused olive oil dressing were all on offer.
We sat and ate our lunch in relative quiet as we were hungry and wanted to give the food our full attention.
I particularly liked the chicken with its note of herbs and apple. The potatoes were divine and the vegetables just crisp and adding good contrast and texture to the other flavours. The lamb with the mint sauce was enjoyable though a little overcooked.
My husband declared he wanted seconds, so I knew the food must be good. We ordered pecan pie with cream and ice cream and a seasonal fruit salad for dessert, followed by cappuccinos all round.
The pecan pie was more of a cake than a pie and it arrived dribbling with toffee sauce and was absolutely scrumptious.
I doubt that as an evening venue children would enjoy it quite as much. The evening menu looks a bit more “grown-up”, however, it is superb as a Sunday lunchtime retreat and I will go back with my husband to try their fare for dinner.
Deluxe Family Restaurant
Expect to pay between US$25 to US$30
2 Buckland Lane, off Alpes Road, Teviotdale, Harare