Midway in what for both of us was a very busy week, my daughter and I decided a meal at the Monomotapa Hotel would be just what the doctor ordered.
By Le connoisseur
Tired but with happy anticipation, we made our way through the quietened-down centre of Harare to the beautiful curve of the Monomotapa Hotel standing out elegantly against the evening sky.
We found parking easily, just outside the front entrance and made our way through the lobby into the hotel’s premier restaurant, Monos.
As soon as we entered we were greeted in a very friendly manner by the receptionist, who then handed us over to a waiter who showed us to one of the best-situated tables next to a window and with a good view of the restaurant. We seated ourselves in the comfortable chairs, and folded out the proper linen napkins.
Our waiter’s name was Anyway. He asked us kindly whether we had any need of a pre-prandial drink.
My daughter asked for a Sprite and bitters, I went for a whisky and soda (my first choice brand was not available but the other was).
These orders placed, Anyway brought us menus and we had a very nice time studying them. On the whole the menu is very classical, there are the usual steaks and chops with different sauces, and choices of differently prepared potato dishes plus various filleted fish and prawn dishes. Starters have a choice of snails, chicken livers, soups and carpaccio of beef.
There are pastas as well — some vegetarian — and desserts were various cakes, ice-cream, as well as crêpes Suzette or a cheese platter.
We felt it was a little warm despite the open window next to us. As soon as we made a move to take off our jackets, Anyway rushed to help, took them and hung them up on a nearby coat-rack.
We ordered carpaccio of beef and the soup of slow-roasted tomatoes to start, and tiger prawns with rice and seared salmon with a lemon-butter sauce on a bed of spinach and feta for mains, choosing chips to go with it.
As we sat back sipping our drinks, we smiled happily, feeling so pleasantly cosseted and coddled by the very professional Anyway. He treated us as valued guests, made sure we were always comfortable, would answer any questions with knowledge and helpful assistance and generally performed his task with such consummate professionalism that it was an absolute pleasure to be at the receiving end of this warm and welcoming service.
We ordered a nice chardonnay to go with our meal. Anyway presented the bottle exactly as required, made sure we had just the right glass for a chardonnay, let me taste the particular bottle and vintage and was able to have a knowledgeable banter with me about the wine’s colour, degree of good “hanging” in the glass, the wooded nose, etc.
When we wanted desserts, Anyway brought us the menu with his usual friendly professionalism. Crêpes Suzette really had to be sampled as part of the classic Monos experience.
Especially so, because they would prepared by the maitre d’ himself. So that took care of my daughter’s wish. I chose the cheese platter, described as a mix of local and international cheeses, ordering filter coffee with it.
Maitre d’ Joseph had already come and checked on our well-being at various times, as had the restaurant manager. Clearly, Monos staff are all very professional, know their jobs backwards, and perform these with a smile and enthusiasm. Joseph now busied himself with the gas-cooker and the little copper frying pan, and soon appeared with a plate of nice hot crêpes in a lovely orange liqueur with a ball of ice-cream deftly put among them.
The cheese platter followed. The crêpes were delicious and just as they should be. The cheese platter was disappointing: small cheddar, gouda and mozzarella triangles covered with passion-fruit juice and sprinkled with shop-bought little round cheese biscuits, a strange combination, and disappointing variety.
Anyway apologised for this, explaining there were few takers for this dish and thus not a good selection of cheeses available. This did not however spoil our outstanding enjoyment in good starters, mains, crêpes Suzette and above all, the great service provided.
If you want to enjoy excellent service, have good food, and just feel welcomed, looked-after and valued, Monos is the place to go!
Perfect food presentation at Monos
The starters came and were very well-presented. The carpaccio was nicely stacked rather than splattered flatly over the plate and the soup came with a huge hat of puff-pastry done very well.
The soup tasted delicious, sweet and nicely seasoned. The carpaccio was moist and pleasant, the cheese perhaps a bit chunky rather than in the form of shavings.
The prawns, when they came, proved not quite to be tiger prawns, but sizeable and in good numbers, although slightly over-cooked. The salmon was done perfectly, the lemon-butter sauce delicious and the combination with spinach and feta worked very well.
The chips came as nice little potato logs in a stack on the corner of the plate. They were crispy outside and soft inside.
Deluxe Family Restaurant
Expect to spend US$40 – US$50 per head
Crowne Plaza Monomotapa Hotel