Lunch in a cool, calm suburban setting

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No apologies for going back to Cool Beans coffee shop and diner for this week’ column. It’s a very welcoming venue and as a “coffee office” and informal meeting place it’s one of Harare’s best.

It’s the centrepiece of Cresta Lodge on the borders of several eastern residential and commercial suburbs: Greendale, Msasa, Highlands, Eastlea and Hillside.

We had lunch there on a rainy day, with loads of people inside and on the terrace overlooking the swimming pool.
It was one of those days where the buzzy but gentle atmosphere was especially welcome, and the menu had just what we wanted for a quick and easy meal.

Cool Beans was opened about five years ago at the time Cresta Lodge was in the throes of a major makeover, which saw the creation of the Cresta Sango Conference Centre on the southern side of the hotel, the refurbishment of all bedroom blocks and public areas, and the establishment of Cool Beans right in the middle of the hotel.

It has a central “high table” at which people spend time working in this user-friendly workplace, surrounded by tables for dining, a lounge area in front of a winter-time log fire, and an outdoor terrace that looks over the pooldeck and Cresta Lodge’s unique lush gardens.

We had what I would describe as a lunch for busy people in need of quality and speed: a burrito for me, inside of which was tender and spicy pulled beef, Texan-style, while my guest had a gourmet sandwich, the filling for which was pulled pork, pineapple and Dijon mustard.

These were accompanied by good salads with excellent dressing. We ended with a delightful cake, which we shared.

Choices appear on a large wall-mural menu, while behind the counter are the long lists of beverages, mainly coffees, but with a wide ranges of hot and cold beverages, as well as wines, beers and spirits.

The food was good and the prices reasonable, but the highlight for me as a regular at this charming venue is the top-rate service = always friendly and always efficient.

We had super service from Cathrine Mutanhawu and Tonderai Mugariri, the latter a winner a couple of years ago of the national barista competition.

I heard rumours that more Cool Beans are in the offing at other Cresta hotels around the country, so perhaps people visiting Cresta Sprayview at Victoria Falls, Churchill in Bulawayo or the Jameson and Oasis in Harare will soon have Cool Beans outlets with the same style of food, drinks and service, as well as suitable and enjoyable workplaces for doing e-mails, browsing the Internet or just having quick meetings, all over coffee and pastries or cakes, or meals.

Cool Beans at Cresta Lodge, corner Samora Machel Avenue and Robert Mugabe Road, Msasa/Greendale. Call (024) 2487006 or 2487154.

Feedback on all culinary and dining matters is welcome and I hope to hear of readers’ experiences, good or bad, and anything can be sent to aquarius@iwayafrica.co.zw

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