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Sweet and sticky Malva pudding highlight at Idyll Swan, Dandaro

IF you’re in your 50s, you could be living in a stylish cottage in the landscaped gardens of Dandaro retirement village. You could also be dining regularly at the Idyll Swan, Dandaro’s well-run restaurant, serving tasty meals at affordable prices.

Malva pudding at Sunday buffet, Idyll Swan.

Named after the black swans that swim regally across a large pond with their fluffy cygnets in tow, the Idyll Swan also welcomes members of the general public, and will host parties and functions for any occasion.

Last week I booked a table for two for Sunday lunch, a three course buffet costing either RTGS$40, or $10. It’s common knowledge that prices are subject to change, but following the recent injection of $500 million into the foreign exchange market, whether the change will be up or down by next Sunday, is a matter for conjecture.

We arrived in good time, and were directed to a table in dappled sunlight, overlooking yellow and orange nasturtiums, and a sparkling blue lap pool, extending the length of the restaurant. In the summer months, it’s not unusual to see octogenarians swimming sedately up and down, an admirable way to keep fit.

Butternut soup, the first course, was hot, rich and well-seasoned, and served with a sprinkling of crispy croutons, fresh, home-made bread rolls and pats of butter. Table napkins were made of fabric, a pleasant change from the ubiquitous skimpy paper napkins that characterise eating out in Harare.

Roast of the day was pork belly, rather fatty, but saved by the abundant and delicious pork crackling, and rich gravy. The creamed spinach was on the sloppy side, but crisp, roast potatoes and caramelised roast butternut squash were both delicious. Extra carbs were provided by quantities of freshly-steamed white rice.

Dessert was sweet and sticky Malva pudding, originating in South Africa and now popular all over the world. Spongy, rich and creamy, and beautifully presented, pudding was the highlight of the meal.

The Idyll Swan is closed on Mondays, but open for breakfast and lunch every other day of the week, and for dinner on Fridays. A full Farmhouse breakfast costs RTGS$15.95, and a cappuccino coffee RTGS$6.95. Scrambled egg on toast, or an omelette is RTGS$9.95.

For a mid-week lunch enjoy a chicken mayo toastie for RTGS$10.95, or fish and chips, RTGS$21.95. Browse through the numerous other options, and finish off with slice of pecan nut pie, RTGS11.95.

The wait staff are pleasant, smart and attentive, and on special occasions there is even greater attention to decor and the presentation of food. At an 80th birthday party I attended recently, tables were beautifully decorated, and the meal was superb. Similarly, a Christmas party in 2018 was exceptional, marking the Idyll Swan out as a desirable venue.

Lap pool alongside Idyll Swan, Dandaro.

While Millennials won’t be drawn to while away the hours at the Idyll Swan, preferring chick magnet venues such as Tin Roof on the Enterprise Road, or Jam Tree in Northwood, they will still be keen to visit their Baby Boomer grand parents who live at Dandaro. Afternoon tea of jam and cream scones on the verandah at Idyll Swan, provides the ideal setting for such a visit.

Some Generation Xers, born between 1965 and 1979, will now be qualifying to live at Dandaro, and to enjoy a community existence with swimming pools and tennis courts on their doorsteps. And, of course, the opportunity to eat out at the Idyll Swan, or to enjoy a few drinks at the adjoining well-stocked bar.  By A Matter of Taste Charlotte Malakoff

The Idyll Swan
Dandaro Retirement Village
Borrowdale Road, Harare.
Tel: 04 870704