I’ve always liked the Meikles Hotel, not just because it’s uber fancy and the only place I can drink my tea, pinky finger up BUT for two main reasons. For one it is an establishment of traditions… Fireworks for New Year’s, Christmas Eve Dinner, Kid’s Scavenger Hunts in April, it is one of the few local things I can count on for consistency. Number two leans closely to number one and it’s a matter of standards. Some may even say that The Meikles has an unfair advantage, having had a century long lead in the business of Hospitality.
With a title as of one of the Leading Hotels of the World, one would expect an air of arrogance or a humdrum of complacence but the bench-markers of the Zimbabwean Hoteliery are far from it. They are in the words of their Managing Director Sebastien Benning “…determined to bring Zimbabwean Hospitality to a point of notability!”
The French Cuisine flagship La Fontaine has without a doubt returned to her greater glory with more dining room, Afro- Modern inspired interior finishes and a Festive Menu that inspires the palette thanks to the Executive Chef, Chris Gonzo.
This was fully experienced during a sunny afternoon of Malawi Shandys at the Chef’s Roundtable as we sampled one of the five Christmas Cracker Festive Season experiences set for the Meikles Hotel.
The starters/ hors d’oeuvres were laid as three options, my choice was the third, a blissful chicken and pork terrine plus cranberry sauce. A tangy way to kick of the party that would soon be in my mouth. I missed the featured Pea and Ham soup but had the best of almost everything as I unapologetically enjoyed not one, not two but three versions of the main course. The Feast, a combination of roast turkey, honey glazed ham, onion stuffing and potato croquettes; Traditional Beef Wellington served with baby potatoes PLUS the Vegetarian Lasagna, sauteed mushrooms, creamed spinach and a healthy dose of Parmesan cheese. Needless to say I had to waddle my way out of the Meikles that afternoon!
Desert was a memorable sweet ending indeed, warm traditional Christmas pudding topped with fast melting vanilla ice-cream and pistachios accompanied with mince pies and chocolaty Christmas delights which I watered down with a strong cup of coffee.
After a lovely meal for the Chef’s Roundtable, it felt like Christmas indeed, party favors, Turkey and pudding in tow reinforcing Meikles Hotel’s position as one of the most prestigious hotels not just in the city of Harare but in the country, only competing hotly with it’s sibling The Victoria Falls Hotel. It’s a small wonder that for an amazing 23 years in succession it has been voted as Zimbabwe’s finest city hotel by the Association of Zimbabwe Travel Agents.
That said, the Meikles Christmas experience at La Fontaine doesn’t come cheap at $55 per person. Even though this year sees a $10 reduction, I wouldn’t go about inviting any extended family for this affair! Good thing is there are other equally enjoyable options such as The Pavilion Bistro and Stewart Rooms offering $40 and $45 respectively.
One could always have a Festive High Tea at the Tanganda Lounge for two at $20.
Go ahead, Meet Me At Meikles and have a very Merry Christmas!