Lunch at upmarket Organniks

Lunch at upmarket Organniks
Goat curry, jasmine rice and kachoomer at Organniks

Goat curry, jasmine rice and kachoomer at Organniks

A Matter of Taste with Charlotte Malakoff
ORGANNIKS, an upmarket fusion restaurant, is located in an imposing white villa in Chisipite, which it shares with the equally upmarket Skin Spa. Both restaurant and spa are owned and managed by vivacious entrepreneur and business woman, Karen Mutasa. Organniks is consistently highly rated by Trip Advisor, the popularity barometer anxiously scanned daily by hoteliers and restaurateurs.

Some managers employ dedicated staff to respond to the public’s comments – to ignore criticism, whether adverse or positive, is perilous. Impressed by the many compliments, I booked a table for two in the garden, for lunch, and looked forward to some outstanding cuisine and a special experience.
The entrance to Organniks, up a narrow flight of steps, leads to a sparkling blue swimming pool enclosed by a Vegas-style pavilion. White tables and chairs surround the pool, suggesting a formal venue for a wedding, or a Bacchanalian celebration, where you could find yourself in the deep end as the evening wore on. George and I walked through to the garden, where two family groups were halfway through their lunch. We waited several minutes for a waiter to acknowledge us. Eventually we were seated, and looked around to admire the green lawn, elegant palm trees, and a giant cycad surrounded by succulents and shrubs.
We decided on sushi as a starter, and to share a plate of Maki rolls. Eight rolls combining prawns, tuna crab and avo, listed disconcertingly on the menu as Trainwreck ($18), was freshly prepared and delicious. Pickled ginger,wasabi and good quality soy sauce accompanied the dish. The base of the chop sticks supplied were as thin as tooth picks, making lifting the sushi hazardous, but where there’s a will there’s always a way, and in no time the platter was empty.
My choice for mains was goat curry ($20) served with jasmine rice, roti, kachoomer (chopped onion and tomato) and a home made chilli sauce. While numerous scrawny goats roam the countryside and end up in retail outlets, the quality of the goat meat at Organniks was excellent, and obviously sourced from a leading butchery. But I remained unconvinced by the flavour of the dish. While the unique flavours of certain spices and the kick of chilli can create a curry that stimulates all the senses, the dish in front of me resembled a stew, made passable only by adding chilli sauce.
Disappointingly George found the barbecued spare ribs overcooked and dry, and the French fries, unevenly cut, failed to impress. Rather than going sadly home with our left-overs in doggy bags to eat who knows when, we decided to stay on and to try the coffee and cake.
Filter coffee ($2) was hot and fragrant, and served in an attractive coffee cup, with a small jug of hot milk on the side. Hot chocolate ($3) was also good. It was almost closing time at 3 pm, and not all cakes and desserts were available, but the kitchen managed to produce a slice of light-textured coconut sponge cake ($6). On the stroke of three a party of adults arrived for a late lunch, but the kitchen had closed and they left, dejected.
As it was a warm afternoon, we chose to sit outside, but if you can’t handle a slightly sloping table and chairs, you’d do better to climb more stairs up to the balcony and indoor dining area. Very few restaurants in Harare provide table cloths or table mats, and table napkins generally consist of a few sheets of single ply paper napkin folded around a knife and fork. Organikks, however, provides a touch of elegance with its large, white linen table napkins. Table mats were of the bling variety, made from loosely woven silver strands.
The bill was higher than expected, as a service charge of $1 was made for each dish ordered, and another space was indicated for the waiter’s tip.
Although the cuisine was far from outstanding, many touches made our visit to Organniks a pleasant, if not a special experience.
1 Dacomb Drive
Monday-Tuesday 8 am-5 pm
Wednesday-Saturday 8 am-9pm
Sunday 9 am-3 pm
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