I chose DV8 for a date because it was geographically convenient for both parties and the exquisite thunderous downpour on at the time made plumbing the depths of Harare’s potholes a very daunting task, even in my sturdy Mazda.
When going on a date, it’s usually sensible to head somewhere where you know what to expect and can rely on to hit the sweet spot. But needing to write this review afforded me an advantage. It gave us something fun to do as we ate. It also meant that neither of us had to pretend to like the food to keep the mood happy. Not to mention the relief my wallet felt being able to deploy the modest stipend covering my feed. Harare News has a strict editorial stance for these reviews: we eat nothing for free!
The bread for the table was a round loaf of very ordinary brown bread served with plain and garlic butters, so to wash it down we tried the mushroom soup ($5) to start. It was delicately seasoned and had fresh mushrooms in it. We were impressed.
For mains we went for the first steak on the list, the DV8 Sizzler ($22). You can choose fillet or rump and it arrives on a hot rock so that you can cook it to your taste at your table. We decided to share it and to order tilapia, grilled, with a baked potato ($16) and share that too.
Before the steak arrives a waiter comes and fastens a bib around the diner’s neck with a nice sense of occasion as if you’re at a feast in Gaul. Then the steak comes in, smoking and sizzling – as promised! I was interested to see if this would be a gimmick or if it had any culinary merit. It turned out to be quite fun, though our table was so dimly lit I couldn’t track my progress properly and ended up blackening one side. It comes with four sauces, a couple of rather dull onion rings and some chips. The sauces – garlic, pepper, mushroom and a tangy relish – each allow the diner to taste the meat (you can choose fillet or rump) in a different light.
There are several sweets available for dessert, between $3 and $6. Feeling replete we shared a Dom Pedro ($4). I’m not overly familiar with how they should be but it was thick and ice-creamy but seemed to be lacking in the key ingredient Amarula.
Although I am sick to death of the topic of the cost of living in Zimbabwe, I have to point out that it’s not a cheap place, DV8. To justify the prices they have gone the extra mile with their services and entertainment. They have a bar boasting 60 whiskys, a kids’ area with a child minder, TV and games and a lounge area where you can watch sport. They also boast live music on Wednesday and Saturday nights and a special on a Wednesday night of a beer and a burger for ten bucks.
All in all, it was a fairly decent evening. The service was smart on the night we went and the food was quite tasty. In terms of ambience, however, it was sorely lacking, particularly ‘outside’. We felt as if we were sitting in a dimly lit reappointed shed. Candles on the tables and some plants would be a great improvement. I recommend DV8 for special family occasions when kids need somewhere to spend energy. I’m also going to head there to test their Wednesday evening burgers and music sometime.