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.



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