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Fresh treats at Pistachio

OUT and ABOUTsaladsWork on the Plumtree Mutare highway upgrade is proceeding apace with more and more sections of the road re- surfaced, the bridge over the Ruwa river well under way, concrete booths taking shape at the Rusape tollgate — and on my latest journey — extensive road markings.  Was positively dazzled by the bright yellow lines demarcating the highway edges — and even more        excited to face an oncoming centre white-line road marker complete with escort vehicle — blipping hyphens into the middle of the black bitumen. With such a congregation of road builders and modern gear, we could have been south of the border! 

The downside is around the towns where I hope confusion doesn’t reign with the appropriate authorities. At last there are signs of minimal activity between the Jaggers roundabout and the start of the carriageway workings. If we have a fabulous dual highway from Ruwa which peters out close to the city limits, congestion will be extreme! Hope the so-called city fathers are on board and don’t continue to obstruct free flow as evidenced by increasing deterioration of inner city roads which need something much more robust than your average sedan to negotiate potholes, extensive water leakages and treacherous tarmac.
Lunched for the first time this week in popular Pistachio one of the many eateries in Sam Levy’s village. Situated right inside the mall (most of the others have parking frontage), mint green, lots of glass, and off white accessories give the café a fresh appeal.
It is busy, and other than the prices  (but after all this is Harare where almost all food eaten out is overpriced), gets the café/bistro recipe just right. Open officially from 730am, punters apparently arrive as early as 7 and sit on the outside deck waiting for the coffee machine to heat up. 
The menu is divided into breakfast, salads, mains and sandwiches — plus a selection of tempting cakes and muffins. The proprietor gets there early in the morning to bake fresh treats.
Breakfast ranges from US$4 for a plain croissant served with butter and jam through US$9 for eggs benedict or gruyere omelette with mushrooms and cherry tomatoes — to US$10 for a full house.
Complimentary bread — on this occasion a miniature focaccia topped with olive and tomato — is delivered to the table along with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. I sampled the marinated fillet of beef and beetroot salad — topped with goats cheese, orange and pecan crumble. Ultra pretty it was decorated with a herbal bunch featuring a slender lavender stalk tied with an onion leaf.  Other salads — all US$13 — were Cajun chicken, tuna nicoise and perfect pistachio — a mixture of greens, nuts and cheese. Although a hefty price, salalds feature a variety of greens, the beef was delicious, the dressing interesting and the orange and pecan crunch delivered a good texture.
My friend doesn’t do salads in cold weather so she opted for pasta dish of the day — a chicken pesto bake. (US$12) Served piping hot it featured pasta bows in a rich, delicious sauce featuring pesto and tomato. Mains include chicken and beef burgers, steak medallions, grilled tilapia and an extensive array of sandwiches on different breads.
Downside was the almost continuous racket from someone behind the counter pounding noisily with a meat hammer. Why there and not in the kitchen — and why this had to be done during busy lunch hour gave lie to the attention to detail showing up in the presentation.
With even sandwiches at US$12 don’t expect lunch for under US$15 minimum, but perhaps the food quality does justify those prices? Service was friendly and the coffee good.