Even if you are not staying at the Victoria Falls Hotel, it is well worth a visit.
By le connoisseur
The hotel was built in 1904, at the time when the Cape to Cairo railway line first reached Victoria Falls.
The hotel is steeped in history with the interior decorated in the gracious Edwardian style of Zimbabwe’s distant past. The artefacts and paintings on the walls reflect and tell the history of this unique part of Africa.
One of the places to eat at the hotel is the informal Stanley Terrace, which is all about contemporary Zimbabwean chic with tinges of old world elegance and gracious style; fancy cocktails and high tea for the national and international elite, as well as the occasional A-list celebrity not to mention royalty.
Indeed, the sun-splashed terrace overlooking the hotel’s lush garden and the famous Victoria Fall’s bridge provides a bright and breezy setting for a relaxed al fresco lunch.
The short walkway between the hotel reception and the Stanley Terrace means you get to walk a few lazy steps through the elegant iconic hotel and admire its wonderful interior.
The terrace is also decorated in the modern chic style, yet still laced with tradition — which is very much in keeping with the rest of the hotel. Suffice to say that you cannot beat the ambience at this lovely spot, looking out over the mist from the Falls.
We eagerly sat down and an attentive waiter immediately appeared to attend to our order. What a feast! The menu is inventive and appetising with a few African delicacies, such as ostrich and crocodile thrown in for good measure.
Examining it carefully, we opted to share a starter of “homemade breads with guacamole, piri-piri, roast tomato butter, balsamic and olive oil”.
We had barely started drinking our wonderful cocktails when a beautifully presented platter of bread arrived. We immediately tucked in but sadly discovered the bread could have been fresher, disappointing for such a fine establishment. Furthermore, the guacamole was rather tasteless and the garlic butter, which was not mentioned on the menu, had been done no favours by the hot weather.
On a more positive note, though the piri-piri and roast tomato butter could not have been better.
For our main courses one of my party decided on the “Fillet steak sandwich with red onion jam, mustard mayonnaise and fries”. I chose the “Zimbabwe fillet steak with fries, rocket, cherry tomato, parmesan salad and peppercorn sauce”, while my other friend went for the more adventurous “Crocodile Caesar salad with bacon, croutons, parmesan and Caesar dressing”.
On the whole the main courses were pleasing. The fillet steaks were super tender as was the crocodile meat. The salads were deliciously fresh and the fries were moreishly crisp. However, on the down side the Caesar salad was drowning in its dressing and my peppercorn sauce was rather uneventful.
Dessert, however, proved to be more promising with the delicious “warm chocolate brownie with cashew nuts and vanilla bean yoghurt ice-cream” being a heavenly hit all round. We enjoyed the overall experience and the service was excellent.
The lunch on the other hand was not as impressive as we might have expected here. However, the food is just one element in the overall experience, so sit back on the Terrace, and enjoy the thunder of the Falls!
Deluxe Coffee Shop
Expect to Spend US$15 – US$35 per head
Victoria Falls Hotel