Fish and chips in a basket at Pizzazz Greystone Park.
INTERNATIONAL fish and chip day on September 4 went by this year with scarcely the flick of a tail or a ripple on the surface of Lake Chivero. If there were more fish bars or chippys in Harare, there might have been a flourish of specials to encourage hungry customers, reminding them of the delights of a succulent, firm, flaky fillet of fish.
Fried in a crisp, seasoned batter, and served with chips, crunchy and golden on the outside, and fluffy within, fish and chips is comfort food at its best. Some will argue that a tofu and chickpea burger provides greater health benefits than a deep fried meal, but there’s no denying how good well-made fish and chips can make you feel.
It’s over a week since George and I visited @pizzazzharare Pizzazz Pizza in Greystone Park, but my mouth still waters when I remember the delicate flavour of fresh, Namibian hake, just-fried potato chips, and the garden-fresh salad we were served at a sit-down meal last Monday. If you’re of the opinion that fish is among the healthiest foods on the planet, make your way to Pizzazz in Greystone Park for their Monday fish special, offering ‘two hake fillets deep fried in our secret crispy batter, served with chips or a fresh garden salad, a lemon wedge and tartar sauce for $5.00!!’
Pizzazz is open every day of the week save Tuesday, and offers sit-in, collection and delivery options. Situated off Gaydon Road in what is known as Greystone Park Shopping Centre, Pizzazz is a vibrant enterprise in a depressed area. Flanked on one side by an unoccupied and unloved double storey building, once home to Dehli Palace, Harare’s most poplar Indian restaurant, and on the other by a defunct supermarket, Pizzazz is a success story.
Owner Brett Wroe and manager Mike Mhundwa run a tight ship at Pizzazz, and while many restaurants are suffering from the 50 per cent occupancy restriction and general fall off in business since the advent of Covid-19, this fast food outlet has never been busier. When George and I arrived for a late lunch, hands-on owner Brett was disinfecting and wiping down the tables where customers had been sitting while waiting for their take away orders. Stringent hygiene is also maintained in the kitchen, and every two weeks the staff (eleven members in all) visit Cimas to test for Covid-19. Although taking these precautions is costly, restaurant owners know how important it is to protect the health of their staff, and to make customers feel confident about sitting down for a meal, or picking up a take away made in a clean kitchen.
Of the eight cooks in the Pizzazz kitchen, three are employed to fry the fish, two to make pizzas, and three to make burgers. Whoever was on duty when we placed our order for two fish and chips, was definitely on top of his game. The tender, flaky fillet of hake, enclosed in a thin, crispy batter, tasted as fresh as if it had just been pulled from the pounding surf of the Atlantic Ocean.
The salad was a nice mix of fresh lettuce, thinly-sliced onions, cherry tomatoes sourced in Domboshava, feta and black olives. A scattering of basil, parsley and rocket micro greens, supplied by a local farmer, lifted the salad to another level, and the dressing was a well-balanced, classic vinaigrette. The chips were OK, although the sizes were uneven, and some were more bronzed than others.
If ordered for take away, the fish and chips are placed in a white packet together with sachets of vinegar, salt and tomato sauce, a container of tartar sauce, sauce and a lemon wedge. It’s a choice between chips or salad, and the salad is packed separately.
For those eating in, the fish and chips and salad are attractively presented in a basket, with sachets and sauces nestling in between the chips. Flimsy disposable wooden knives and forks take some getting used to, but the fish tastes so good that you learn quickly.
Pizzazz is open between 10.30 and 18.00. There was a steady flow of take away customers while we ate our lunch, and manager Mike Mhundwa said that on a busy Monday he sells up to 210 servings of fish and chips. Pre-packed beef or chicken lasagnes, mac ‘n cheese with ham, and Thai curries are also available, so visit Pizzazz to stock your freezer and forget about cooking for the next week. Don’t forget to include a chocolate mousse in your order – Mike says it’s ‘to die for’.
International Fish and Chip Day comes but once a year, but Pizzazz Greystone Park’s fish and chips special on a Monday allows you to catch the feel good factor every week.
A Matter of Taste with Charlotte Malakoff