We had booked for dinner; and unfortunately, this turned out to be a buffet. I say unfortunately, because I feel that a buffet doesn’t really give a restaurant the opportunity to show off all its culinary skills.
The buffet is much favoured by many hotel restaurants, it seems, and my view is that on the whole, and with noted exceptions that incorporate other entertainments and elements to enhance the dining experience, they are often not doing themselves proper justice by preferring this model for feeding their clientèle and other visiting diners. Anyway — it was a lovely evening, so we sat down with a view to enjoying ourselves. I had had a very good dining experience at the Amulonga last year, and with the new upgrade I was still expecting a great dinner, regardless of the buffet style of it. Unfortunate to report, though, it seems that the cuisine is an area that didn’t receive the same level of upgrade as the other infrastructure. Our dinner was acceptable but not particularly noteworthy.
Our waiter was very friendly and took great pride to emphasise that there was indeed cucumber among the starters.
I tried the soup — cheese and moringa. Moringa is a local tree, the leaves of which are used as a vegetable. This sounded very exciting, but unfortunately it was rather tasteless and floury. There were no bread rolls either, although the balls of margarine were waiting expectantly.
The main fare was chicken drumsticks, lasagne, stew, rice and potatoes, and a lovely leg of roast beef which beckoned me enticingly. I asked for, and was cut, a beautiful medium rare slice. But to my horror, the chef slapped this slice on the grill, ladled a huge dollop of oil over it, and proceeded to fry it!
He presented it on my plate with such a pleasant smile, I didn’t have the heart to say a thing in protest. The pudding section was quite well-displayed, with crème caramel portions and chocolate mousse. But I couldn’t help noticing the display arrangements between the dishes of vegetables, still in their supermarket packaging of styrofoam and cling wrap.
Expect to spend US$10 to US$30 per head
A’Zambezi River Lodge, Victoria Falls.