While eye-watering prices feature on the menus of a great many dining venues at the moment, it is reassuring to know there are restaurateurs who are so committed to their customers that they have done everything possible to keep prices within the reach of the average diner.
Harare’s Spring Fever is a good example of this. It has always been a venue of reasonable prices and value for money, and at a lunch this week I was pleased to see a menu of variety and affordability.
The restaurant has a long history, having first started in the Karoi area but moving to Harare when the owners were forced to relocate almost 20 years ago.
It ran in Milton Park for a long time but in mid-2017 it relocated again, this time to Chisi Walk, a bright and cheerful retail complex in Chisipite. Owner Elise Oosthuizen is a superb host and has created a restaurant with her plaaskombuis (farm kitchen) style of cuisine.
Chisi Walk is on Hindhead Avenue in Chisipite, a few minutes’ walk from the main Chisipite shopping centre.
It was developed by Mike and Les O’Riordan from a former residential home and now hosts a selection of small retail operations — with content ranging from wine to jewellery and from clothes to crafts — as well as their Casa Kadiki guest —.
The restaurant operates from within the original house and has seating on the veranda as well as under a large roofed section over what was once a swimming pool, overlooking a charming garden.
Spring Fever is a daytime dining venue, starting early morning and ending at the close of the normal working day, as well as on Saturdays until early afternoon. Sunday lunches remain a major attraction, featuring an excellent buffet spread.
Such special spreads also happen on other occasions, most recently this week on New Year’s Day, when an Afrikaans braai-based lunch was hosted and attracted a good number of public holiday guests.
At lunch this week, my guest had lasagne while I went for a cheese and tomato quiche, both dishes accompanied by a small salad and slices of very fresh brown bread with butter. Both were excellent in taste and generously portioned.
We also had dessert: a light and fluffy pair of pannekoek (pancakes) with cinnamon and lemon for my guest and a, really delightful waffle, ice cream and syrup for me. I have so often been disappointed by stodgy waffles and was thrilled with the fresh, light and crisp style of this one.
The menu of features breakfast, lunch and all-day light option, and Elise also sells pre-cooked frozen meals, which are very popular.
She also likes catering for functions and celebratory occasions and in addition to baking great cakes, for weddings and other events, does cooking lessons, too.
Prices are good: breakfast options run from $5 to $20, brunches and lunches from $10 to $30, sandwich plates from $7 to $20, salads from $10 to $15, a ploughman’s platter at $18 and muffins and the waffle and pancake options between $6 and $10.
The restaurant serves only hot beverages and soft drinks ($1,50 to $5) but Albert Nhau’s Danai Wines has its retail outlet right next door and people can either bring their own wines to Spring Fever or buy from this outlet, making it very handy. These prices I have quoted are all RTGS prices!
A key feature of the restaurant’s operation is a team of friendly and efficient staff, among them the much-praised head waiter Smart Saluti, who must rank up there with the best head waiters and maîtres d’hotel in Zimbabwe.
As always he looked after us well and we chatted about recent happenings and his permanently optimistic view of life.
Spring Fever is a family restaurant with a focus on great home-style cooking with portions no-one can complain about … at prices that are among Harare’s most reasonable. It opens from 7.30am to 4.30pm between Monday and Friday, and closes at 3pm on Saturdays.
On Sundays, they close when the last lunchtime guests move off. It’s a mix of a coffee shop and restaurant, with a varied selection on the menu or on the specials board. I would say that advance booking for Sunday lunch and special events is absolutely essential. Call 0772 711985 (Elise) or 0772 687344 (Smart) for enquiries and reservations.
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