Archive for August, 2009

eating out in maputo #002

GALAXY – indian restaurant  ****

 This place is definitely a place to visit, eat and laugh at the “out of this world” decoration making you understand why such a name for indian food.

Starting with the great advantages of this place, forget that food in europe they pass as Indian, forget the fancy places with tandoori chicken they pass as ethnic, this is the place for Indianfood. Quality price equation to perfection, along with the Indian food smell on your lcothes for days. This is the place to be. Food is amazingly tasty, and the prices nevers makes you sweat. The piri-piri sauce is just right even for someone like me who cannot stand spicy food, here you taste every bite, every piece of different vegetable and every spice.

And you cannot not start your meal off with a couple of Chamussas, where here they are pobably the best I’ve ever had.

But please let us not forget to introuce the restaurant itself. W have all established, except for Karen who is still a bit doubtful , that this is a great place to eat, but yes it is one of the dogiest places I know. The ceiling is painted wood, dark and about 1,50m high so you feel that you’re always being crushes to the ground, the table are always oil and th table top is glass over this pvc large mat with pictures of what your food will look like, and yes it make your apetite leave the room in a hurry. there are only 2 windows in the whole 15m long and 5m wide restaurant, are these windows have never been clean let alone opened! there is a door at the front of th restaurant, the entrance, and one at the end of the room, obviously always closed. This place has probably never felt fresh air in its existence, which in a way is perfect because I’ve heard in India its worse.

What joins it all together are the waiters. Black and so mozambican they have been taught well. They speak with an inian accent. What can I say, if you order “butter chicken” he’ll repeat it to you as “boror ticken” and you’re in india straight away, no flights needed. The fun fact of all of this is that the owners, apparently are pakistani.

So it leaves me only space for the not so high points of this indian journey. The menu! Usually in a restaurant where you know little about the food, it would be useful to have only between 10 things to chose from, but this place has about 120 dishes, not only that but the menu looks like a telephone lists, it takes you about 20minutes to refind you order in case the waiter asks to confirm it. And of course, it is written in the worst english possible and the wirdest is that being this an oficial language portuguese country you’d hope they’d give it some thought in translating things, but no. A “butter chicken” in portughese is a “bottor galinha” which makes sense because……… hmmmmm…  can’t find any. And I mean all the dishes have a translation problem, and the english could use HELP, URGENT HELP.

Of course you can always try to know the menu by heart and order by phone TAKE AWAY, they deliver it, with no spelling errors, or oily smells and of course, no indian accent on mozambican faces.

Last but not least… well, actually… i wouldn’t say not least, i’d just call it… hmmm what’s the word… HORRIBLE? WIERD? YUCK? or just WHY? The only desert you will have in this out of the world place is, now hold on to your chairs!!!! ICE CREAM WITH SPAGHETTI. And that’s not all, because… IT’S ACTUAL SPAGHETTI INSIDE TWO SCOOPS OF ICE CREAM. now, don’t you feel like joining us next time?

All’s well when you eat well, voilá!


detail #020

nothing much is happening around here. still have cold feet

eating out in maputo #001

TCHOVA – thai restaurant  ****

 We have decided to create a new club. Seeing that Maputo has good food but we haven’t experienced it all, we have decided to try to try out almost every restaurant in town on wednesdays nights. At 8pm you can see the four of us, me, Aldo, Martim and Karen walking into one of these restaurants (not the same as fridays and saturday when we go out too but with no critical eye opened). Guests are welcome with previous warning!

We try out different dishes, usually one for each of us, creating a variation suitable for a good (or bad) review.

Restaurants should beware though. We are friendly and just basically want to have a good time, but we are artists in our professional lives, so we tend to see beyond just the plate in front of us and go over in noticing everything: ambiance, decor, service, waiters, cleaniness and dirtiness (there’s a lot of that going round) and price of course which tends to be good and effortless. With this being said, I warn you, we just started. So enjoy and maybe one day you’ll find a Michellin Restaurant Guide of Maputo based on us! You never know.

So. To the TCHOVA Restaurant.

It is definetely one of my favorite places. We had decided to go there with no intention of creating a Gourmet Club (which we hope will change it’s name soon enough) and because it is so nice it just had the right atmosphere for it. And like that I have said it’s most great quality, the place itself.

It is located in a patio, it has a bar but no actual interior space, so you eat at a gorgeous outside courtyard surrounded by bamboo trees. It has soft light and therefor so cosy. It used to be a cultural meeting place… and that says a lot. The food is another amazing advantage of eating here, it is absolutely divine, I admit. There is not one flaw, obviously if you are into Thai food is makes it easier, but with none of us ever having been to Thailand this is as close as I imagine myself. Every plate, and I’m sorry for not having written down the names of the plates yet… I will one day, has colour, texture and so much taste. It is definetely an incredible taste bud experience.

Deserts however are rather bizarre. They basically don’t exist here, except for Ice Cream, which isn’t very Thai foodish and what they call “Banana in Coconut Milk”. Now, I love the sound of that, but when you get a big bowl of cereal loaded with hot coconut milk and pieces of banana in it… yeah, it didn’t get much of my vote either.

Of course things in Maputo Restaurants need to be analyzed carefully, the food may be spectacular, and here it definetely is, but service is somewhat peculiar. Everywhere here in Mozambique they serve badly. Everywhere they have these annoying rules they go by which make no sense anywhere else in the woorld.

For example, food never arrives at the same time, and starters may sometimes, most of the time arrive after the first dish. Here at the TCHOVA is wasn’t the case this time, but it’s amazing how many times it happens. Another aspect is the clearing of the table, they take out each place by itself, as soon as you’ve finish. If you happen to be very quick finishing your plate, it will leave the table in an instant and the others at the table will just keep going. Sometimes when you’re a couple, you have to coordinate yourselves, otherwise you’ll end up eating alone.  This is probably my biggest fight in this country. I always ate out a lot, trying new places, of all kinds, and I look at the service a lot. For instance, it makes me wonder when I eat at a restaurant like the TCHOVA and the 5 waiters are leaning against the wall waiting to be called upon… never have I seen this. Don’t tell me it’s africa, what it is is lazy people and here in Maputo, in Mozambique there is lots of it to share.

Overall TCHOVA is and hopefully it will stay like that, as a great place for a group of friends eating out and enjoying a great food experience in one of the best outdoor spaces Maputo has to offer.