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Food and Travel: ‘Brunch’ treat at Theo’s

WHY did I go to Theo’s House of Coffees, alias “167”, also known as The Stables for Saturday “brunch”?
Because on Friday, publicist Stan Higgins phoned me for their number, to send regrets to a function, and it was not on my data base! Tssk, Tssk!!

Coincidentally the next day I was ravenously hungry, having done a full morning’s cerebral graft, coupled with a lot of driving on a medium-sized green apple, small naartjie, tiny banana and Tesco cod liver oil capsule!
I was also in Highlands and “167”, situated roughly where Lewisam meets Chisipite, Colne Valley and Rietfontein, was close by.
Incidentally did you know Lewisam is not a misspelling of London suburb Lewisham, as popularly supposed?  Sam Lewis, a Jewish pioneer, began an early woodlot and timber-yard just off the road to Enterprise Valley’s farms… today’s Lewisam, (his name reversed, geddit?) populated by senior diplomats on three or four year “hardship” postings to Ha-ha-ha-rare (Africa’s fun capital!)
Theo’s is a super little family restaurant. I like al fresco eating when the weather’s right (about 350 days a year in this “hardship” post!) And the gardens and stoep at 167, Enterprise Road are very inviting.
It is a large plot: maybe three hectares of rolling real estate fringed with venerable indigenous trees. There are several arty-craft gift shops and the like dotted around the property and then the little oasis of manicured green lawn, lovely roses, a picture postcard swimming pool and early Colonial-style dwelling, which is now an eatery.
It is very much a family place, popular with mums dropping off, or waiting to collect leggy gym-slipped offspring from Chisipite’s schools and a wide selection of  appreciative diners-out: at one stage, paradoxically, hirsute leather-clad bikers!
I could not think when I last visited, but matronly part-owner, Lolly Nel, immediately told me “late 2005” when we had a memorably good Greendale Good Food & Wine Appreciation Society buffet lunch there.
The eponymous Theo is Lolly’s son, not to be confused with her husband of the same name. Young Theo was not around on Saturday.
They used to run the (then) spectacular and popular Hot Springs Resort near Chimanimani, but had a torrid time with so-called war-vets, who believed they were entitled to walk in and “liberate” it. They did, in the end, but the army rolled in and kicked out that particular rabble and Hot Springs, once packed with South African travellers, is now a garrison tasked with trying to control chaos and chicanery on the nearby diamond fields.
It was almost noon and I was torn between lunch of chicken schnitzel with baked potatoes, wedges or chips (the latter only if Zesa is “on”) with a garlic, pepper or chili sauce at $8, or all day breakfast.
Lolly recommended this and it was hey-ho for a major artery-clogging cholesterol intake! Two fried eggs, two rashers of tasty bacon, a British-style pork sausage, tomato, mushrooms, brinjal (eggplant/aubergine) fritters, chips (thanks, Zesa!), two slices of toast, marmalade and a pot of tea for $10.
Served swiftly and on a professionally steaming hot plate, I lay down my novel, (one I’m reading, not the one I’m struggling to write!) removed specs and wolfed quietly for the next 10 minutes.
There are several breakfasts listed. I especially liked the sound of an Irish one: two Irish potato cakes, topped with creamy scrambled eggs and tea or coffee at $5. (Next time… and I’m not waiting until 2015!)
Bacon and blue cheese was one of seven delicious-sounding toasties which come with chips and a side salad at $5.  There are also baked potatoes (or crepes) with a variety of scrumptious fillings, including chicken and mushroom, savoury mince or spinach and feta $5-$7.
Lovely ladies who lunch languidly are great supporters of Theo’s enormous organic salads: Greek; with Cajun beef strips; or Thai chicken: $7. For those not watching calories, similar ingredients, in a freshly baked Portuguese-style crispy roll, with crisps are $5.
Lunch features steaks with home-made sauces at $10; pork chops or home-made beef burgers at $8 and there’s a great soup-and-a-roll Monday to Fridays. (Lentil’s vastly popular…and very good for you.)
Sunday lunch is back to a carvery, very popular before the “shortages” accompanying Zimbabwe’s record-breaking hyper-inflation.
There’s a choice of soup, two or three traditional roasts, sliced to your liking, with all the trimmings and a selection of sweets at $15. (Sorry to the person who rang me a fortnight ago pleading for the address of a decent urban Sunday carvery/help yourself buffet: I couldn’t then think of one!)
Theo’s is not licenced to serve alcohol, but there is no corkage on your own drinks and there are a couple of up-market bottles stores and a Bon Marché supermarket within five minutes’ drive.
They open 8-5 working days; 9-5 at weekends. And those telephone numbers?  443720 or 0712-614 800.
Theo’s House of Coffees, 167, Enterprise Road (opposite Lewisam Motors).



Dusty Miller

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