The Borrowdale shops hum with eateries of some sort or another, anything from a simple coffee shop/café to high-end restaurants.
By Le connoisseur
On this occasion we tried out Miller’s Café, nudging up there in the upper echelons of the competition as a Deluxe Family Restaurant.
So we were expecting a good lunch and were delighted to find a very respectable and diverse menu.
The laminated pages are starting to fray somewhat but the menu is bright and well laid out and the descriptions of the dishes get your taste buds tingling in anticipation, lots of really good ingredients and tasty combinations — we were going to need some time to decide on what to eat! Ah yes, time..!
The promise of culinary delights was rather deflated by what turned out to be a protracted affair due to pretty unsatisfactory service.
Miller’s has a great menu as I mentioned, there are many options for breakfast, which is served until 11 am. You can have anything from French toast or a continental to a variety of cooked breakfasts to omelettes.
I rather liked the sound of the smoked salmon omelette, made with cottage cheese, chopped chives, capers and feta, topped with smoked salmon and avocado.
Light meals range from sarmies to schwarmas to burgers, chicken prego roll to that Durban speciality — bunny chow.
There is a large pizza menu with a great number of toppings, or you can mix your own from a list of ingredients.
Then there is a pasta section. The salads sounded fantastic and we had a dither over these. There were some nice starters too, followed by more substantial meals like the chicken borrowdillian — crumbed chicken breast, parma ham, mozzarella and fresh sage sautéed in sage butter and a white wine sauce; I thought I’d try that one too!
Fish dishes included calamari, prawns, bream and a beer-battered fish, and there were various grills of course, featuring various cuts of steak and a variety of sauces — not forgetting spare ribs and pork chops.
Quite a trial to decide on what to have… my companion finally choose a schwarma and I went for a combo. There were a few of the latter and we liked the name of the fillet and prawn combo — Bulawayo to Beira. Thinking chicken and ribs might be too much to handle I tried the chicken and prawn.
This was a very tasty grilled spatchcock covered in a nice sauce, though the chicken was underdone around the bone and needed some effort to pull apart. There was a small accompaniment of steamed mixed vegetables which were perfectly cooked yet crunchy; the carrots in particular were delicious.
My companion’s sliced lamb schwarma was much enjoyed, being made with minted tzatsiki, humus, tomato and onion salsa, red cabbage and aubergine. Both our dishes also came with chips, though with the grills there was the usual choice of chips, roast potato or mash.
We had left room for dessert — barely — and were a little disappointed here. There was nothing really exciting apart from the “chocolate sin”, which was described as “creamy chocolate folded into a biscuit base, layered with thick chocolate mousse and finished with a strawberry coulis”.
Here we felt the actual offering failed to meet the great expectations created by this description.
The dessert appeared as a single and dense layer of baked chocolate on a thin pastry base, rather than the something light and “moussey” we were anticipating. The bread and butter pudding was nicely arranged as a large muffin, but my companion found it heavy going.
Well, I think bread and butter pudding does tend to be on the heavy side, but maybe the recipe needs creative tweaking to lighten it?
One did feel the need for a long boat-pole to snag a waiter and we were never offered more drinks. We had to request a menu after our courses, it seemed faster to do it that way, and it was evident that tables around us were suffering too. Prices were quite high on many dishes, so one expects good service.
The menu is great and so is the food, and I see here the potential for a 5-plater, but alas, due to defects in the important area of service, the score results in a 4.
Deluxe Family Restaurant
Expect to Spend from US$15 to US$40 per head
Borrowdale Village, Harare