Easter eggs and chocolate volcanic cheesecake at The Idyll Swan
THE roast lamb lunch at The Idyll Swan on Easter Sunday was a humdinger. After forty days of sporadic fasting and almsgiving during the season of Lent, an invitation to the Sunday buffet lunch at Dandaro was eagerly accepted.
Our host, a denizen of the upmarket Dandaro retirement village, had reserved a table on the terrace, and by mid-day, the restaurant was packed with a cross section of retirees with their grown-up children, and patrons from nearby suburbs.
During the coronavirus pandemic it seemed as though buffet style dining was gone for good. While sharing spoons to serve food and standing in line to pile up your plate were considered risky, times have changed. With almost 35 per cent of the population in Zimbabwe having been vaccinated, cases of infection are declining, and there is a more relaxed attitude to dining out. Like the comeback kid, Zimbos are adept at overcoming adversity, and patrons queued happily at the Idyll Swan’s Sunday buffet.
A French onion soup, made with caramelised onions and beef stock, was a popular starter. While the topping of cheesy toast was missing, the soup itself was perfectly seasoned and flavoursome. No short cuts, such as the adding of packet soup or artificial seasonings were made, and the result was delicious.
Traditionally, roast lamb with mint sauce is a favourite celebratory lunch at Easter time. While it’s fairly easy to buy goat (can be found at Mbudzi Roundabout, or on the Kirkman Road), grass-fed lamb has a singular pastoral flavour all of its own. Paired with roast potatoes, pumpkin, green beans and a rich gravy, the thinly sliced roast lamb at the Idyll Swan was savoury and succulent.
Evidenced by many cookery programmes on TV, the world’s favourite dessert right now seems to be a cheesecake. So it was unsurprising that the third course in this Easter feast was ‘a chocolate volcanic cheesecake’. Some dainty Easter eggs, perhaps thrown up during the eruption, adorned each slice of the dessert, and swirls of chocolate lava and sprinklings of chocolate volcanic ash added a wow factor to the humble cheese cake.
Responsible for this Easter feast was Chef Mishek, highly respected head chef at the Idyll Swan. Hailing from Mt Darwin, he made his way as a young man to the Bulawayo Polytechnic Hotel School, to be trained in the culinary arts. After ten years at Monomatapa Crowne Plaza Hotel, Chef Mishek moved to O’Hagans in Sam Levy’s Village in Borrowdale. Two years later, in 2010, he took up a new post at the Idyll Swan at Dandaro, and has been there ever since.
The Idyll Swan is open to the public, and serves breakfast and lunch from 8.30 am to 3.30 pm from Tuesday to Sunday. For dinner, which is served on a Friday evening, booking is essential. The chances of finding dishes involving molecular gastronomy or tomahawk steaks covered in 24 carat gold foil on the menu are remote, but every dish will be made from quality ingredients, perfectly cooked, and served by pleasant, efficient wait staff. By Charlotte Malakoff A Matter of Taste
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