The clientele appears to be surprisingly diverse with a wide range of ages, nationalities and ethnicities. I can honestly say that I couldn’t even begin to pin point the specific clientele that visits Café Nush. I can also tell that there are people eating at the restaurant for a variety of reasons. From business meetings to casual get-togethers between people of all ages,Café Nush is a place for all.
I make my way over to a pair, Samantha and Liz, who mirror my thoughts about the diversity. Samantha tells me what she loves is that you don’t have to restrict who you bring to the restaurant to friends OR family, because the crowd is varied. She also has compliments spilling over for the good service, friendly waiters and central location. Liz points out to me that she chooses Café Nush over other restaurants because of the convenient parking offered. While she finds she does not often eat the big meals, the small meals are perfect for her – at affordable prices. These two are obviously Café Nush regulars and just the right people to get an optimistic view of the restaurant.
Speaking to them has built up my excitement and I hurry back to my table to order. I have to ask my waiter to describe the three different pastries allocated by The Coffee Shop Tour, because the words are so deliciously foreign to me. Drooling a little bit with each description I finally select the napeloni. For my drink I choose a rooibos cappuccino, something I’ve never seen offered on any menu. I’m impressed by the bravery of the restaurant, which is obviously looking to challenge the norm with regards to coffee beverages.
Both my orders come in record-breaking time and I get stuck into my napeloni, which looks like a puffed-up pillow of pastry. From my minimal experience with confectionary I’m guessing that this is phyllo pastry and once I break through its crumbly casing I see that it is filled with strawberries and cream. The strawberries taste fresh and their fruity sweetness manages to contrast the artificial sweetness of the whipped cream. The napeloni looks quite bulky, but once I cut through the pastry it feels soft and light.
My rooibos cappuccino is an interesting experience. It looks like a regular cappuccino, but the strong rooibos aroma seeps through the foam. The taste of it is way out of my comfort zone as I’m used to drinking rooibos with no milk, however, I actually enjoy the flavour and I enjoy the fact that I’m caffeine-free for a few hours.
I flip through the rest of the menu at Café Nush and note that it appears to be keen on embracing the international. The three items on The Coffee Shop Tour specific menu are representative of this with the paris-brest, a French desert, the napeloni, a pastry with French and Iranian origins and Nush petit–four, also of French origin.
I get a chance to speak to the owner, Abed Khalatbari, who I noticed is almost always in sight as a reassuring presence. His proactive role in the restaurant fortunately allows him to answer my questions with more depth than I was expecting. Speaking about the menu he informs me that this is their second menu so far, and their third is currently under construction. Café Nush’s first year anniversary as a restaurant was only in May, so I’m impressed by their innovation. Abed also tells me that all the confectionary on the menu is baked fresh, daily. If and when there is anything left over the remains are given to a local orphanage.
As per my other coffee shop visits I ask him to give me an insight into the name. He translates the word ‘nush’ to me from Persian as a way of saying ‘cheers’. This is, however, not only specific to drinks of the alcoholic or non-alcoholic kind, but a broad salute to food, drink and anything. The French equivalent would be the well-known Bon Appétit. Their choice of name becomes understandable when he explains that he comes from a Persian/Uranian family.
Finally, Abed notifies me of something that will please the women of Harare. Café Nush is set to open up a Veldemeers chocolate shop, within the restaurant, as soon as next week. The Belgian chocolate is hand-crafted and the launch is this Saturday, the 7th of July, set to satisfy the sweet-teeth of all who attend.
Café Nush can be found in Avondale Shopping Centre, Harare. They are open for business on Mondays and Saturday from 7.00am to 10.00pm and on Sundays from 8.00am to 9.00pm. Visit The Coffee Shop Tour tab at www.eatout.co.zw for more details on their menu.