Escape the humdrum, and visit Three Monkeys Restaurant in Greendale.
THE iconic three wise monkeys, first seen in a 17th C carving at a shrine in Japan, are associated with being of good mind, speech and action.
In Victoria Falls resort town, on Livingstone Way, The Three Monkeys Restaurant and Bar is known for great food, expertly-mixed cocktails and a lively buzz that has made it a magnet for both tourists and locals. It was a matter of time before business partners Chef Greg Paymans and Ilan Wiesenbacher decided to share the unique brand of Three Monkeys hospitality, and open a second restaurant in Harare.
A great location with ease of access and secure parking is essential for the success of a restaurant. Not only does Honeydew Lifestyle Centre in Greendale tick these boxes for The Three Monkeys Restaurant – it also provides beautifully landscaped surroundings and an opportunity to shop later at the popular Food Lovers Market.
What was once a rustic farm stall with a thatched roof and a reputation for selling the freshest of fruit and vegetables, Honeydew has metamorphosed into a vibrant, commercially viable lifestyle centre.
Last Saturday morning, in a bid to escape the humdrum breakfast of Weetbix and peanut butter on toast on offer at home, George and I set off for Greendale and The Three Monkeys Restaurant. Venturing into this neck of the woods after some months, I was astounded on arrival to see the development that had taken place at Honeydew. Nothing remained of Brentos Restaurant, or Henning’s Nursery. A once busy coffee shop and lush garden centre had disappeared, to be replaced by a state-of-the art restaurant, surrounded by flourishing shrubs and luxuriant green lawns that stretched down to a lake and an impressive fountain.
Friendly staff greeted us on arrival, and although I hadn’t made a reservation, we were guided to a table on the veranda. It was just after 9 am, and many of the restaurant’s 190 seats were already occupied. A few vacant tables had reserved signs. There was a holiday atmosphere and a tingle of excitement, as patrons of all ages, many dressed in shorts and colourful shirts, looked around to see who was who in this cool new venue.
With a few exceptions for health fanatics, such as muesli with berries, yoghurt, and smoothies, the breakfast menu offers a wealth of hearty options. Brooks breakfast, with a full Monty selection of eggs, sausage, mushroom, bacon, tomato, baked beans and toast looked alluring, as did the variety of omelettes and toasted sandwiches. Gladmore, our knowledgeable waiter, enquired if we would like the eggs well done, medium or soft.
When the eggs Benedict arrived, two poached eggs on top of an English muffin were perfectly cooked to medium, and the Hollandaise sauce was buttery and creamy. Wilted spinach and generous slices of smoked salmon cut through the richness of the sauce, completing a classic breakfast dish to set you up for the rest of the day.
Spicy chicken livers on toasted ciabatta were said to be delicious and a dish to eat again and again. Two fried eggs on top were nuked precisely according to George’s request.
The lunch and dinner menus offer some well-priced and intriguing options, such as beef carpaccio with rocket, parmesan and a balsamic reduction, and liver pate with red onion jam and grissini (crispy Italian breadsticks). There’s also a great selection of salads, burgers and pizzas, before moving on to flame grilled steaks served with herbed butter.
It was too early in the day to check out the well-stocked and gleaming bar, the longest I’ve seen in a while. Ilan Wiesenbacher, MD of Liquor Supplies Zimbabwe, is passionate about growing the liquor industry, and supplying hospitality with beverages to suit every taste. He works closely with Tinashe Nyamudoka, a Zimbabwean award-winning sommelier, and founder of Kumusha Wines. When lunching or dining at The Three Monkeys, make time to try out Kumusha Wines’ Pinotage, a rustic red wine with flavours of the Zimbabwean fruit nhunguru.
The Three Monkeys is a family-friendly restaurant, with a shady, fenced off play area, where a minder keeps a watchful eye while toddlers can swing, climb the jungle gym, and entertain themselves. The lake is stocked with bass and bream, and we noticed a young angler jumping up and down with excitement when he eventually caught and released a small fish.
If you can’t spare the time to drive to Victoria Falls, make your way to Three Monkeys Restaurant at Honeydew Lifestyle Centre in Greendale. Open seven days a week, a unique brand of hospitality is guaranteed whenever you decide to visit. v
A Matter of Taste with Charlotte Malakoff