I continue my food journey around Harare with the sole purpose of finding good food, service and character at local hotspots. While I am no Dusty Miller, I have had some difficulty finding all 3 key elements in Zimbabwe’s capital ( as my previous reviews showcased). However my love for the recently just ended Battle of the Chefs Season 2, put the limelight on Head Chef of the cooking reality show, Stephen Hyde! During one of my regular viewings of the episodes a few weeks ago, there was a contestant who highlighted that Stephen had trained Jamie Oliver!! This unexpecting news made me curious to try his food and the return of #ZOL restaurant week made it the perfect opportunity to explore the renowned Emmanuel’s restaurant located at the Bronte Hotel.
Reservations made, stylish looks for the night on, appetites ready! The three of us (Addy, Tha and myself) made our way to the prestigious Emmanuel’s. As we entered the lush garden, it was clear the restaurant had a full house with all the tables occupied. The warm lighting, classical background music, elegantchandeliers and draped curtains all add a certain exclusivity and fine dining ambiance to the space. Vintage themes implemented in a very modern way. The unique elements like the book shelves and library inspired room make it feel homey and intimate. While it was classical and vintage , it did not feel outdated or in need of a renovation which a few vintage spots feel like in Zimbabwe. It was posh and intimate, certainly the type of style and ambiance I love! Fine dining at its finest!
We were warmly welcomed by Carol who walked us to our table and seated us. Our sauvignon blanc was immediately put into an ice bucket for chilling as the menus were brought to us. The attention to detail, service and quick attention stood out , the night had a good start.
The delicious braised mussels
We all had an idea of what we wanted to try, so for starters we opted for the Mussels, Mushroom Ravioli and the Smoked Beef Marrow. Mussels are one of my all time favourites, and the starter surpassed my expectations. The Braised Mussels were served in garlic, white wine and cream sauce and with a julienne of vegetables, topped with a chilli spiced fish cake. The flavours and aromas were a wonderful tease. Succulent and flavourful. I was impressed and would go back just for the mussels. I spared no drop of the sauce or mussel flesh! Tha and Addy enjoyed their starters and I managed to steal a bite of each and the mussels are still at the top of the list for me.
Rack of lamb
For the mains, I opted for the Rack of Lamb (I am not sure if you have not noticed, but I love my lamb). While Tha ordered the Roast Quail and Addy the Chicken Tikka Masala. The creatively plated dishes came out all on time and together (none of that waiting around some restaurants in this city tend to do). The presentation was inviting, portions fair and naturally we were eager to dig in but before we did, a variety of sides were presented to us. From baby potatoes, butternut, sautéed red cabbage and a selection of vegetables. After making my selection which included a bit of each, I finally dug in. The lamb was cooked as I requested it, medium and the rosemary jus worked well with the lamb. The only critique was that it was quite a fatty lamb and I personally would have had only a little of the fat but more of the fleshy meaty bits. The side selection I picked was fresh and I especially enjoyed the peppers and the cabbage.
Misty Eton Mess
To end the night it was only natural we would go for the Misty Eton Mess due to its theatricalpresentation but also because I love a meringue, or anything Pavlova inspired. All 3 of our desserts arrived misty thanks to the dry ice and it truly was an eye popping experience. For us newbie foodies this is what we look for in ourfood experiences when dinning around the city. Creativity, effort, quality and a new experience. I want to leave a restaurant thinking gosh that was exciting, that was new and curious to know how it was done.I want to leave thinking wow; I want to learn how to make that. That is how I felt after all 3 courses! For the ZRW special, the cost for the 3 meals was a reasonable $25. A deal worth every dollar in my opinion.
A moment with Stephen Hyde
To make our food filled night even more special, we were beyond delighted to meet Chef Stephen in person. The boy from Kadoma who has now established himself as a prestigious international Chef and inspired top international Chefs. For us foodies, it was a pure delight to engage with the legendary Stephen Hyde after indulging is his wonderfully prepared meals.
Intimate , Romantic and elegant!
The nightwas perfection and Emmanuel’s is the only place to receive a 5 star Mimi seal of approval on my ongoing food journey. I will be returning definitely especially for an afternoon garden experience. If you are looking for an intimate, romantic and elegant fine dining experience, then Emmanuel’s is the place.
Food: ***** (5 stars)
Service: ***** (5 stars)
Presentation: *****(5 stars)
Cost: **** (5 stars)
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars