My inner foodie came out this past weekend with the much anticipated and first edition of the exclusive, “ Secret Dinner” presented by Food and Co and Unplugged Zimbabwe. My previous blog post revealed the details of this food concept taking place every 2 months in Zimbabwe (available here). This past Saturday (4 March), all the secrets were revealed about the very first edition of the “ Secret Dinner “ with the intimate dinner hosted at Village Unhu.
Secret Dinners in their very essence is an exciting and mysterious concept with guests’ only receiving details after RSVP’ing. The chef, location and menu are all a secret adding to the allurement and overall experience. The unique concept is ideal for the food lover hoping to not just get their taste buds stimulated but for a magical food journey.
Welcome to the Shebeen
As I arrived at the venue (not too late I promise), the intimate and warm room was decorated with African print fabrics and images of African music icons of the 1960-1980’s era that filled the room. The Shebeen theme was carried out beautifully throughout the room from a wheelbarrow filled with the legendary Castle Larger quarts, used crates and iconic Kango metal cups all in celebration of Zimbabwean cuisine and history.
Food and Co team
The dinner tables were intimately placed and guests were welcomed with the evening’s menu as more secrets for the night were revealed. Food for the night was prepared by Battle of The Chefs Season 1 winner and traveling Chef, Tafadzwa Anifasi affectionately known as De AnkarrA Chef.
Roman Tripe on creamy polenta basil vinegaraitte
Just in time for the starter and much to my surprise … T R I P E but affectionately named “ A Tripe Down Memory Lane” on the menu . Well, not just any tripe but Roman Tripe on creamy polenta basil vinegaraitte. In the spirit of adventure and Zimbabwean nationalism, I decided to give it a try… And the dish managed to momentarily overcome my dislike for tripe. The tender dish was filled with flavour and the vinegaraitte was a beautiful fusion of flavours as well as a lovely twist to a traditional dish. The starter set the tone for the night and was popular with guests.
After an adventurous first course and mingling with guests. It was time for the main course titled “Respect your Chic” ! True to the Shebeen theme , nothing quite says Shebeen like a good braai and some chakalaka. Mains consisted of a 24 hour marinated baby chicken with cardamon scented butternut puree sautéed vegetables and chakalaka butter . The dish was tasty but more traditional than the starter. While the chicken was full of flavour , true to my inner Zimbo and Shebeen theme (not so much chic), I would have appreciated a slighter bigger portion for a main. Being a fan of butternut , the cardamon addition was a nice finish to the dish.
One of the enjoyable elements of the night’s food journey was De AnkarrA Chef’s commentary on the food prepared after each course. The head chef for the night explained his dishes and techniques . Taking his guests through the cooking process and flavours. The interactive presentation also allowed for guests to pose their questions about the dishes to the chef.
Dessert is served, vetkoek with caramel popcorn snow , chocolate Chantilly and textures of fruit
The last course, “Voetkoek Diaries” consisting of Orange mascarpone cheese Vetkoek with caramel popcorn snow , chocolate Chantilly and textures of fruit(grilled peaches , blended kiwi and raspberry ) was an unexpected end to the night. The chocolate Chantilly was the perfect balance of decadence . The Vetkoek is popularly a South African treat and can be quite dry, I do feel the dish would have been complimented with some fresh cream or a coulis . Being a lover of fresh cream in my desserts that would have taken the dessert to a new level. My personal palette prefers desserts that are more creamy or moist.
A moment with Unplugged’s Ellinah
The night was filled with riveting conversations with fellow foodies and lifestyle appreciators. The evening was not complete without some swinging , grooving and jiving true to the Shebeen Chic theme. This exciting food and music concept is definitely for the food lover seeking a new experience. The budding food industry in Zimbabwe is undeniably an exciting space as talented local Chefs are redefining contemporary Zimbabwean cuisine. We eagerly await our next food adventure and foodies be sure to be at the next “ Secret Dinner”.