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Chef Cleto Cooks Up a Storm for Sunday Lunch at Honeybear.

WE celebrated the official start of summer last week with a visit to Honeybear Restaurant in Borrowdale, and a glass or two of Casal Garcia vinho verde, a smooth, fresh and delicate wine from Aveleda, in Northern Portugal. Wine buffs will tell you that this wine is best drunk in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere, so what better venue than Honeybear, recently opened by gourmet restaurateurs Sherry Dunn and Colleen Morgan.

Classic lattice blueberry pie at Honeybear.

Exchanging the chromium and glass of On the Greenz at Borrowdale Brooke for Honeybear’s rustic thatch, banana trees and holiday atmosphere, Sherry and Colleen have established a casual and welcoming venue, offering affordable, well-cooked, and imaginative food. Open for lunch and supper Wednesday to Sunday, with breakfast served at the weekend, Honeybear is in demand for corporate functions, anniversary and birthday parties. A Sunday lunchtime buffet, priced at ZW$120 a head, is also proving popular.

Last Sunday, the first really hot day of the year, we sat at a comfortable table for two overlooking the swimming pool at Honeybear, while waitress Memory skilfully poured Casal Garcia into two spotless wine glasses, just two thirds of the way up. How often has your glass been filled to the brim, or carelessly dribbled onto the table? Starters were individually served by Sherry, a personal touch giving management an opportunity to interact with each guest.

The starter, baked savoury ricotta cheesecake with red onion marmalade and roasted cherry tomatoes, served with bruschetta (grilled bread topped with garlic and olive oil) and two different types of crackers, was presented on a wooden platter garnished with sprigs of flowering rosemary. The caramelized onions simmered with red wine, balsamic vinegar, olive oil and brown sugar into a marmalade, was the perfect foil to the creamy texture of the cheesecake and the garlicky crunch of the bruschetta.

Chef Cleto Mubaiwa, who also transferred from On the Greenz at the Brooke, is now cooking up a storm at Honeybear. For Sunday’s main course he was carving a sumptuous piece of slow-braised brisket, to be served with Yorkshire puddings and rich, brown gravy. De-boned and stuffed roast chicken was also on offer, but I didn’t give it a second glance after setting my sights on the beef. Bain-maries held roast potatoes, carrots and peas, sprouting broccoli and a delicious gratin of spinach. Purists will say that we should have moved on to a red wine to drink with the brisket, and Sherry did offer us a bottle of Splattered Toad shiraz-based blend from the Cape Point vineyards, from her small but select wine list. Described as ‘quaffable and easy on the pocket’ Splattered Toad would have done the trick, but we continued with the Casal Garcia, and it also worked well as a dessert wine with the final course.

Savoury cheesecake with Casal Garcia at Honeybear.

Classic lattice-top blueberry pie made from fresh, deep purple, naturally sweet blueberries, and vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce were the dessert options. Originally described as a beach bar, Honeybear has replaced beach sand with brick paving and installed a state-of-the-art kitchen. Plans are afoot to build a new cold room, and while improvements continue to make the venue more stylish, it continues to retain its laid back, holiday atmosphere. Fully licensed, there is a cosy bar with a television. Barman Reggie, a computer consultant in his spare time, serves a full range of popular whiskeys, including Jameson, Famous Grouse and J&B. He’s also adept at mixing party shot Jager Bombs (Jagermeister and Red Bull) for 21st birthday parties and stag nights. Honeybear Guest Lodge in the adjoining Cape Dutch – style house offers accommodation with breakfast at reasonable rates. A fully-equipped kitchen allows long stay guests to cook their own meals, although most prefer to walk over to the restaurant for lunch or dinner. Last Sunday no one took the plunge or even paddled in the swimming pool. As summer gets underway, I can’t think of a better to cool off than sitting poolside at Honeybear with a glass of chilled Casal Garcia.   A Matter of Taste Charlotte Malakoff

Honeybear Restaurant and Guest Lodge
7 Honeybear Lane
Mobile: 0773 240 279
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