It’s an interesting exercise to watch the progress of a restaurant from inception, and to see it grow from small beginnings into a mature and successful venue that deserves the acclaim it receives. A good example of this is Organikks in Harare’s Chisipite suburb, which started out about seven or eight years ago as a daytime-only café, but which has now evolved into a popular fine dining restaurant.
It still retains some of the service offering of a café, opening early each day for breakfast and offering all-day coffees and teas. In addition, it has become a functions venue, with guests making use either of a small area suitable for conferencing or the poolside terrace, ideal for big events.
A hallmark of this venue is a high level of creativity on the part of owner Karen Mutasa, who has worked hard to find unique niches within the dining community and has done well to develop a menu that really delights.
I had not been there for quite some time before my most recent visit, which was for the purpose of attending a conference but gave the opportunity to enjoy a lunch beforehand. A small menu card advised of a selection of new dishes and these all appealed.
There was fried noodles with either prawns, chicken or vegetables; chicken schnitzel or veal schnitzel accompanied by either chips or rice or salad; ostrich fillet, served with garlic mushrooms, pepper sauce and either cauliflower or potato mash, or chips, fried rice or salad.
The one I chose looked most interesting of all: West African peanut stew, featuring chicken, along with fried plantain, jollof rice and shitto sauce. It was a huge success, with a mix of vibrant and piquant flavours and such a satisfying after-taste.
The full menu was also available and has a large and varied selection of meals from across the world, including delightful sushi and some dishes that pack a powerful level of heat. In addition to this are breakfast and al-day offerings, as well as a selection of cakes for coffee or tea accompaniment, or for dessert after a meal off the menu.
I have long regarded the red velvet cake and cheesecake here as among the best I have tasted and, if there were to be a competition for Zimbabwe’s best red velvet cake, I have no doubt the Organikks offering would be tops or close by.
A wall board advises on recommended dishes or discounted offerings and these change from time to time.
The venue is a busy one, with a spa and hair salon on site, situated in a former home on the corner of Hindhead Avenue and Dacomb Drive in Chisipite, across the road from Chisipite senior school.
The restaurant is on an upstairs level, overlooking the swimming pool, now crowned by a new deck and walls, featuring a venue for events of all kinds.
The restaurant serves breakfast and lunch every day, and opens for dinner from Wednesday to Saturday.
I have seen it in use for a great many private functions in recent years, largely the result of a reputation good cuisine and exceptional décor at such events.
On occasion I have driven past to see an event in action and it is the colour of the event that has really impressed me; the team seems to create a colour for each function — possibly driven by corporate need — and this seems to envelop the venue with that colour and not just as an add-on.
A growing interest in healthier eating is reflected in a number of dishes on offer, as well as the range of fruit juices. The beverages section also offers coffees, teas, milkshakes, layered crushes, frappes and carbonated soft drinks.
A few years ago Organikks became one of the first restaurants in Harare to offer sparkling water, a trend I am pleased to say has spread widely across the city’s good restaurants.
Organikks is a fine dining venue that I found consistently welcoming and enjoyable, and for me it seems to grow as a restaurant of style and culinary satisfaction.
I have previously used three words for this restaurant, and I do so again: innovation, excitement and class. It’s open from 8am to 5pm on Monday and Tuesday, from 8am to 9pm from Wednesday to Saturday and from 9am to 3pm on Sunday.
Call (024) 2497541 or 0779 718314 for reservations (recommended for the evenings and weekend lunchtimes). Visit www.organikks.com or Facebook/Organikks.
The Epicurean is very keen to know which restaurants readers like the best, not only in Harare but right around Zimbabwe. Send in your thoughts about what tops the bill for you — and why.