Fishmongers therefore seemed a good place to try out. Not having been there since the days of the Zimdollar in about 2004, I will admit to a little bit of excitement. Booking was made once again through the Eatout Call centre (Thanks guys) and so on a cool Friday evening off we went, fishing for a good meal.
The restaurant itself really hasnt changed much over the years, and I think that is part of its charm and continued popularity. Whilst having to wait for someone to acknowledge our existence when we arrived, I couldnt help but thinking that I should have made sure to ask for an inside table on the wintry evening. The people on the deck (verandah) seemed to be quite comfortable though, I suspect in large part to the Gas heaters stategically placed around the place. Finally, a member of staff came to the conclusion that people standing blocking the doorway were probably waiting for someone to attend to them and came over. Booking confirmed, we were shown to our table (Woohoo Inside seating acheived), and presented with our menus.An interesting fact noticed on the menu was that there is no corkage on wines but that corkage on Whiskey is $10 a bottle.
I am going to go on record here by stating that the waiter we had could possibly be the most surly I have ever encountered. Drinks orders were taken almost begrudgingly it seemed, and on arrival, our wine bottle was plonked down on the table with enough force to so send it shooting from the top of the bottle.... Happy BIrthday didnt quite seem the right words to accompany such a display, but my dinner companions made sure that we stayed focused on why we were there.... in other words, The food.
There is a good range of starters, including soups, salads and seafood, ranging between $3 and $9. Our choices were Scottish smoked Salmon ($9), a roquefort Salad ($3) and a portion of Garlic Mussels ($8). Our "friendly service technician" was about to get another evil glare from me as I popped the first mussel into my mouth, when suddenly he just vanished from my thoughts. My tastebuds broke out into a rendition of "Celebration" and a smile spread across my face. WOW! The creamy garlic sauce that the mussells had been cooked int was sensational. Gazing around the table it seemed I was not alone. A very generous portion of smoked salmon was very tasty and the Roquefort salad was causing murmurs of pleasure too. None of those plates stood a chance and had been scraped clean by the end of the first course.
Onto Mains and the choice given that it is a Fish restaurant is quite decent. For those "heathens" who would go there and then decide to not have fish, there are chicken and steak options ranging from $10-$15. Considering the portion sizes spotted at other tables, this really is quite reasonable. For the seafood lovers, there is a variety of choices ranging between $11 and $23, with the platters for 2 & 3 people also available at $46 and $55 respectively. Our choices included a platter for one ($19), a prawn and calamari curry ($16) and a prawn and Calamari Combo (served with Chips AND rice) that cost $13. The platter for one had Prawns, calamari and Sole and was deliriously delicious. Its so easy to overcook seafood and yet not one component could be deemed overdone or rubbery. The Curry was an unusual flavour but definitely a hit and, the prawn combo could never fail to be a winner in our landlocked nation. I honestly was left in a state of wonderment as to how there could be such a disparity in the quality of the food when compared to the quality fo the service.
Sitting back after the main courses had been cleared, the thought of dessert was almost too much, but then I remembered it was my Birthday so we had to "force" ourselves :) The choices include all the normal suspects (ice cream, Chocolate Mousse etc), but what intrigued was a Pudding Maria $3) and the Dessert Special ($4) which turned out to be Tiramisu on that night. Let me tell you, never say to yourself that you are too full for dessert... The chocolate mousse ($3) was chocolate heaven. Possibly the best I have tasted in any Harare restaurant. The Tiramisu was fantastic as well. The Pudding Maria i have to say was possibly the most disappointing dish of the night and turned out to be a trifle type dessert (without the sponge). It was still tasty just not as satisfying nor as delicious as the other two choices.
I left the restaurant having paid a total of $95 for three courses for Three people including drinks. This to me was fantastic value and the taste and quality of the food almost made me forget the rudeness of the waiter and the slow service. Almost but not quite.... Honestly in a growing industry, the onus is surely on the owners and managers of these establishments to ensure that customers are made to feel welcome, even on a busy-ish Friday night The facilities for training waiters exist and should be put to use. I would certainly recommend Fishmongers to anybody but purely on the basis of the food and value for money. Service levels were abysmal. Anyway I am off now. The wife- to-be has a new outfit and is "fishing" for compliments. Until next time ENJOY!!!