I TRIED Rainbow Towersâ€™ special festive season menu in the five-star hotelâ€™s attractive Komba Hari grill room restaurant; the decadently delicious spread should, perhaps, be slapped with a health warning, so excellent was it!
After we finished the chefâ€™s table-style sampling with Rainbow Tourism Group senior management, headed by group operations manager Lewis Chasakara, the newly elected head of the Hospitality Association of Zimbabwe, publicist Patriciah Rusike e-mailed me a full menu, and I realised we had tasted only a sample: a soupÃ§on, of what lucky end-of-year revellers can enjoy.
Being an unreformed soupaholic, whether it be servedÂ atÂ lunch, supper or on its own, I raved enthusiastically about a light, herb-rich cream of onion potage, sprinkled with parsleyÂ and starring pongy, garlicky, cheese croutons, with more-ish dinky warm bread rolls and fresh butter and, in my case, a chilled Bohlinger lager. My hosts and hostess enjoyed a bottle of good Cape Merlot.
Executive chef Elliot Kandima, formerly at Crowne Plaza Monomatapa, created a chefâ€™s special salad of young mixed leaves, tomatoes, peppers, feta cheese, plump salty olives, spring onions etc, thoroughly tossed in a lovely honey, balsamic vinegar and mustard dressing. This delightful dish just screamed out for another warm in-hotel baked roll.
The e-menu however informs me that the full range of available starters (no mention of the soup) is:
Far East vegetable mushroom and beef salad with rice noodles; pineapple coleslaw salad; assorted leaf lettuce with dressings and condiments; assorted marinated salads;
tomato and cucumber salad and harvest apple filled with shrimp salad
Whole baked fish with stuffed anchovy eggs; chicken and pineapple salad in a melon platter; garlic polony, French polony and smoked gammon platter; assorted cheese platter.
For mains we had a variation on the traditional festive fare featuring imported (from Brazil!!! So much for the land â€œreform programmeâ€) self-basting turkey, moist and tasty (both white meat and dark), aÂ nutty, sage-rich stuffing and piquant cranberry sauce; roast smoky baked gammon ham, baked pumpkin, baby corn with assorted young seasonal vegetables and a grand meaty gravy.
This was presented piping hot on an almost iridescent heavy steel rectangular serving platter, which kept the dish at an agreeable temperature no matter how slow an eater you are (like me) or how much conversation you enjoy with fellow diners and the â€œwaitronsâ€.
Hot and Pot is the next item on the main menu, probably catering for folk who, inexplicably, donâ€™t like â€œturkey and all the trimmingsâ€ :
Beef goulash with sweet peppers and onions, sadza, rape; pan-fried salmon steaks with mussels in a herb cream saffron sauce; grilled chicken with garlic, tomato and chive sauce. Lyonnaise potatoes; rice with mushrooms; garden goodies.
X-Mass pudding (sounds like something Satanists tuck into at Xmas!) in brandy sauce; rum-fruits jelly; assorted mousses mince pies; Yule log; Christmas strudel with apples, marzipan, raisins and vanilla-rum sauce;Â fresh fruit salad in melon boat; sherry trifle Christmas pastries and cookies.
Rainbow Towers is offering an accommodation special until New Yearâ€™s Day. If I were here instead of Oxfordshire, Iâ€™d probably book in for a few days and enjoy guaranteed electricity and hot baths or showers!
They are re-introducing popular braai lunches by the poolside each weekend; as Monday is a public holiday, this service is available then.
On Christmas Eve there are Carols by Candlelight. Christmas Day lunch is in the two main restaurants and Jacaranda Rooms, with entertainment. Santa Claus will be on hand, plus jumping castle and face-painting.
On New Yearâ€™s Eve, a solo artist will entertain at a candle-lit dinner, thereâ€™s a live concert and midnight fireworks. There will be full English or continental breakfast, brunch or lunch by the pool on New Yearâ€™s Day.
BY DUSTY MILLER