Unsure what was wrong with the “old” set-up; it seemed adequate to me; but the decision was made to go up to date and high-level, high-capacity tanks should take the pressure off a system faced with an ever reducing water table.
However, plumbers, water engineers or whatever their trade or calling is, seemed about as organised as a Chinese tug-o’war game and having survived Tuesday night (new pump not delivered) on a small bucket of water for all purposes, I was not best pleased at Wednesday mid-afternoon to hear the place was still as dry as the Kalahari in June, with little prospect of running manzi for another 24 hours.
Really, at my time of life, do I need this?
So I booked into Rainbow Towers: a fabulous sixth floor room where, probably like the Red Army during the rape of Berlin, I proceeded to flush the loo like billy o and after a great shave, have a deep hot relaxing bath, followed by invigorating needle-point scalding shower to shampoo.
Half an hour of catching up on world news and sport became an hour: 45 minutes of it Egyptian PT! I awoke with a start, setting off for one of the two restaurants at Rainbow Towers (née Sheraton Harare.)
As a decidedly uncivil servant with the Information ministry I was among the first 24 to sample Komba Hari Grillroom and have remained fond of it since.
Few Hararians seem entranced with the place in recent years. I overheard the strident-voiced husband of a Bulawayo couple tell his neighbouring diner how much they really enjoyed Komba Hari; it was a pity there was nowhere else in the country like it.
Lunch or supper, there were the highlights of the pair’s fairly frequent business trips to Bamba Zonke, he exclaimed almost ecstatically. I couldn’t help feeling if obvious experts from Bulawayo feel that way, why don’t we get the same sentiments from residents of Beatrice, Belgravia, Belvedere, Bluff Hill Borrowdale or Budiriro?
The wife nodded sagely; I was too far away to join the conversation. In any case he preached to the well and truly long-time converted.
I helped myself to a splendid array of colourful, crisp, crunchy salads, still warm dinky brown rolls and fiddly butter sachets ($2), which I finished before the soup of the day –– cream of butternut (also $2) arrived.
That was a slight disappointment. A wee bit “thin” (perhaps over-diluted?) texture-wise and slightly lacking the robust flavour I enjoy. But what the hell…for US$2?
Rump steak was certainly no disappointment. From an old fashioned export quality Zimbabwean grass-fed, probably pedigree, mombe, professionally hung, the texture was superb, it was well marbled, the ultra fine layer of rich, luscious fat on one edge added to a splendid moist flavour, enhanced by basting as it griddled in front of me.
I estimate uncooked weight at about 300 grammes and if I hadn’t been so very hungry (no lunch, no sports day sundowner snacks at the club that night!) I probably wouldn’t have finished it.
But I did: every morsel, dripping in a piquant mushroom sauce poured on after the almost cooked nyama was drizzled in ginger, black pepper and garlic and seared.
A steak to die for and one you’ll battle to find anything like in the Diaspora, it came with a mountain of great golden chips, crispy outside, fluffy within (or rice or baked potato), stir-fried (or steamed) young vegetables and half a large, plump, ripe, red tomato, griddled next to the steak.
If not familiar with the Komba Hari, the food is cooked expertly in front of you. Part of the theatre of dining-out, it is always a wonder to me that exponents of this culinary art manage to cook up to half a dozen main items: steaks, chops, venison, fish from sea, river or lake and seafood, for instance, with all the trimmings, yet everything’s ready together and no dish tastes of any other.
And the price? Just US$11! Where in this world can you get what should be (and has been) an award winning meal, cooked and served promptly and attractively by attentive knowledgeable chefs, in a five-star grillroom in a five-star hotel in a national capital for $11?
(Soup, salad, steak, pudding, coffee, two canned beers $23.)
I was arm-twisted into a soupçon of a delightful fresh fruit salad with a smidgen of chocolate ice-cream, also $2. Well it was a smidgen of ice-cream after I sent back two of three scoops served.
I was comfortably replete, tired and wanted to catch up with whichever natural disaster made the headlines last Wednesday: Sydney sandstorms, Samoan tsunamis, Philippines/Vietnam earthquakes-cum-typhoons or the East African drought?
Breakfast in the hotel’s Harvest Garden could have lasted until lunchtime: local and imported cereal, porridge, fresh, canned and dried fruit, different yoghurts, a buffet of almost every different cooked breakfast speciality you can imagine, pastries, breads, toast, hot tea or coffee.
For some odd reason I woke up and prepared for the day exactly an hour earlier than usual and had a leisurely morning repast of Weetabix, three or four fresh fruit chunks or slices with plain yogurt, then a grand Spanish omelette with a little lean grilled bacon, pork chipolatas, tomato and sautéed spuds.
Over several cups of tea I did the crossword puzzles and word game, only leaving the table when a third MDC MP asked if he or she could join me. (I’m not the most communicative, breakfast person!)
As Rainbow Towers is within spitting distance of ZimInd’s office, I arrived 10 minutes early for my first meeting!