I’m sitting next to a group of three women, Natalie, Nadine and Chantelle. While they’re only at TBK to end off their Friday with a few drinks, they describe TBK as a “hub of activity” with “friendly, helpful staff”. While Natalie enjoys the buzzing atmosphere, she also unfortunately finds it a bit cramped. Whether it’s the time of day or the set up of the tables, at the time of my visit it was true.
While I wait, I have a look at the other items on the menu. I soon realise that TBK is not your average restaurant with the option of only ordering food from the menu. The steak side of the menu instructs you to go into the restaurant, choose your meat and instruct the chefs how to cook your meat and with what sides, directly. However, there is also the option of ordering the ‘normal’ way with interesting choices such as “poached egg caprese”, “eggs Florentine”, wraps and sandwiches. Many of my friends have also told me about the illusive “salad bar” where you can dish as much salad as you like for $8. I have a look at the salads and it’s obvious that this is most reasonable dish on the menu, with many different types of salad to choose from.
I get a chance to speak to Doug Sinclair, part-owner of TBK, and ask him what the story is behind the steak-ordering system. He tells me that they initially wanted to design TBK around the idea of a visual restaurant where you see what you eat before you eat it, and you also see how it is cooked. Doug states that because of this visual theme the steaks are most popular, particularly sirloin, t-bone and rump steak. Another popular option is the salad bar, but that was already clear.
I also question Doug on details about the deli they have inside TBK. He tells me that while the majority of their produce is imported, a significant portion of them are from local producers such as Colcom, The Cheese Man and Salmon Run. In my opinion, there is much to be said for those who make use of local Zimbabwean goods.
He also paints me a brief history of TBK, which was opened on the 10th of February, 2012. When I ask about the name of the place, Doug tells me that another part-owner, Ian Miller came up with the name. The name The Butcher’s Kitchen was chosen because they wanted the restaurant to represent literally what you would find in a Butcher’s kitchen. The brand TBK then progressed naturally from there.
However, back to the coffee shop experience, which is the reason for my visit to TBK. After a while, my cake and coffee arrived. The filter coffee was winey and bitter, but the full cream milk and sugar soften it more to my liking. I’m much more impressed by my slice of cheese cake. The piece is dribbled over with a syrupy gooseberry sauce, and Doug comes over and tells me it’s made with a very high quality type of cheese: stilton cheese. The obvious effort put into the preparation of the cheese cake has paid off because it’s amazing. The taste is foreign to me and is definitely more on the savoury side. The savoury taste is complimented by the sweetness of the syrup, the crust is moist and thin, and the slice is not thick enough to be overly filling.
The Butcher’s Kitchen can be found at Shop 112, Sam Levy’s Village, Borrowdale, Harare. They are open Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursday from 8.00am to 6.00pm; Wednesdays and Fridays from 8.00am to 9.00pm; and Saturdays and Sundays from 8.00am to 4.00pm. Visit The Coffee Shop Tour Tap at www.eatout.co.zw for more information about their menu.