Café Nush Organik’s has operated at Chisipite 10 months, but I made a debut call this week.
Eating Out with Dusty Miller
Like “big brother”: Café Nush at Avondale, they serve a wide range of teas, hot drinking chocolates and some of the nicest coffee in the country along with smoothies and fruit and vegetable juices.
Apparently Organik (with a “k”) is meant to hint that not quite everything they serve there is necessarily 100% organic (with a “c”), but much of the produce appearing on a surprisingly extensive menu is just that.
Why the apostrophe in “Organik’s” beats me, but the chain is run by an Iranian family, headed by the urbane Ramin Khalatabari, and their English is superior to my Farsi or Persian!
Ramin came here 20 years ago with the Iranian outfit which took over the former Cone Textiles, then owned by the Cohen family. Stella Cohen is the landlady of the Avondale Nush.
A chum raved about delicious kippers allegedly enjoyed at Organik’s on Saturdays and I drove to Chisipite mentally salivating at the thought of a brace of luscious Scottish kippers with a pair of perfectly poached eggs on toast.
Alas no kippers were on the menu, nor on blackboard specials. My waitress didn’t know what a kipper was and, after eating, head chef Chengetai Makawa (27), who’s been there since Day One, confirmed kippers had never been “on”.
Maybe she had smoked haddock and kippers confused? They are after all both Scots breakfast favourites and the eatery lists “omelette Arnold Bennett”, a superb dish created for the eponymous famous Black Country author by the chef at London’s grand Savoy Hotel. Bennett lived at the Savoy for some time; his novel Imperial Hotel based on experiences there.
The omelette was created more as a light supper dish rather than one for breakfast. A martyr to insomnia, it helped him sleep,
The dish comprises a large flat, open-faced fluffy egg omelette, cream, Parmesan cheese and lots of smoked (or Finnan) haddock folded in. I struggled to finish mine, with two slices of toast and was thus not surprised to find cookery writer Delia Smith referring to it as a suitable supper dish for two pax or for three as a light lunch with a side salad!
Whatever! It was a very filling mid-morning meal for US$10 and, a further attraction, the first pot of Tanganda tea (or filter coffee) is free during February.
Thirsty, I ordered a second pot (they serve about three cups) with a slice of fruit-rich iced carrot cake. Hot drinks (US$2-US$3) come with biscotti. The large slab of cake cost US$3.
Cold breakfasts are US$5 and US$6 a pop. Hot breakfasts start at US$6 for baked eggs with cream and butter to US$15 for a Nush Big Mack: two eggs, 200g fillet steak, beef sausage, “macon”, tomato and sautéed potatoes; plus US$2 for mushrooms.
Unfamiliar with the word “macon”? It’s cured beef, cut thin, cooked to resemble, proper bacon and popular in halaal and kosher restaurants, where luscious cuts of rich dead pig are verboten.
The cafe owners are Iranian, thus Moslems. While I respect their own religious dietary requirements, regulations and rules, the usually fairly insipid and often dry macon just doesn’t do it for me, when compared to luscious crackling rashers of smoked best back bacon and, candidly, beef sausages aren’t a patch on their piggy siblings.
Good news for non-Moslems at Cafe Nush Organik’s (and that was, presumably, all of us!) is that, although they don’t serve booze, there’s no objection if you BYOB (no corkage); at Avondale, alcohol is strictly banned.
Other omelettes include their take on the famous hangover cure eggs Benedict, a three cheese omelette and one featuring smoked salmon (US$9-US$14).
The restaurant opens Monday-to-Friday from 7:30am until 4:30pm and on Saturdays from 8am until 3pm. They shut Sundays and most public holidays. On St Valentine’s Day, by request, they served supper to about 22 couples. Eating is indoors or on a shaded verandah overlooking an invitingly sparkling swimming pool.
Chef Chengetai was formerly head baker at Avondale and is brimful of ideas. Harare-born, she went to Highlands Primary and Bonda Mission, before doing the hotel and catering course at Bulawayo Poly and further professional studies in Pretoria. She worked in junior management at Harare’s Holiday Inn and Crowne Plaza, before joining the Nush group. (Incidentally, “nush” is the English transliteration of a Persian word meaning “cheers!” or “good health!”.)
Off duty, she’s not averse to roast pork and apple sauce and, having done the Cape Wine course, enjoys an odd glass of Merlot or Shiraz. She loves working with her Iranian bosses and says she learned much from bubbly local chef-consultant Susie Lemon, who was at Chisi for several months.
Other than great breakfasts, there’s a huge range of salads for lovely ladies who lunch languidly. For guys who graze with gusto, there are fillet steak and cheese sandwiches, chicken snickwitches, burgers, fish, sea-food and pasta dishes, all in addition to some of the nicest coffee and croissants around!
Café Nush Organik’s is set in a former Ambassadorial-style dwelling in manicured gardens and is well-patronised by diplomats. It’s at 1 Dacomb Drive, near Chisipite Senior School. Telephone 0772 666 555.
Child friendly; not very handicapped friendly. Safe parking. I forgot to ask about smoking, but no nicotine addicts were around and I saw no ashtrays. Nice background music of 19690s-1980s standards; could be cranked up a bit.