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Not quite Serendipity!

By Dusty Miller

SERENDIPITY is — quoting Horace Walpole — the happy knack of accidentally making unexpected and delightful discoveries.

n=justify>Initially I was by no means serendipitous on discovering Serendipity Coffee Shop at Mount Pleasant, as waiters seemed to go out of their way to ignore my every instruction. But after breakfast in their sun-kissed grassy courtyard, chatting to the owner and finding they’d been open only 10 days, I felt more sanguine and decided to give them the benefit of the doubt.

Smells of good coffee and grilling bacon entranced the senses, sensually, on entering Serendipity. No foodstuff smells better, more appetising than cooking bacon: the smokier the flesh (sometimes the flame) the better!

I ordered tea ($50 000) with a sunshine breakfast of bacon, egg, grilled tomato and toast ($380 000), the only alternative being Serendipity breakfast: eggs (plural), bacon, sausage, baked beans, tomatoes, toast and a hot drink at just under a million.

I was amazed how much Afrikaans I could hear prated on the slasto patio of the unusually designed building Serendipity owner Grant Evans describes as Mexican-African. But it’s perhaps not so amazing, I was there as following an e-mail from tikkidrai (traditional Afrikaner barn-dance) MC Joe Esterhuizen and I am sure I am not the only person in the elderly DJ’s electronic address book.

My tea arrived and I stressed the fact I’d ordered it WITH the food . . . not in advance (a ploy to pressure punters into purchasing a second pot?). Needless to say that (and the biscotti accompanying it) it were almost finished when the fry-up arrived some 12 minutes later.

The waiter painstakingly wrote that the egg should be fried, soft but not runny. It was as hard as the knobs of hell. Someone ignored the customer always being right. I sent it back. A replacement plate took another couple of minutes, by which time I definitely needed another pot of the cup that cheers.

The food was fine; I attacked it hungrily, perhaps regretting not having ordered the bigger breakfast but cash was flowing extremely slowly! I asked for more toast with which to enjoy some very acceptable marmalade. A single slice and butter arrived, subsequently not charged for; the second pot of tea was also gratis.

The place was mainly filled, that late Saturday morning with ladies who lunch (and birds who brunch), reeling off vast wads of $50 000 bearer cheques to pay food and drink bills. I can see it being a big hit with Zimbabwe’s equivalent of Sloane Rangers, and — judging by the numbers of Pajeros, Prados and other 4WDs thoughtfully provided by hubby’s (or daddy’s) company parked outside on two further occasions — the “debs” are not slow in discovering the place.

Fried breakfasts are served only on Saturday, otherwise the emphasis is on salads and health foods, notwithstanding some criminally rich-looking cakes, ice-creams and mineral floats being served much quicker as the crowd slowly thinned.

It opens Tuesday to Saturday.

l Serendipity, 2a, Serendip Close, (entry Golden Stairs Road) Mount Pleasant. Tel 334576/334377.

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