On our way to Belgravia for lunch at Da Eros I told my fellow ‘luncheoneers’ that I had never eaten there, which was met with surprise. One friend estimated that she had been more than 20 times over the years, and it was her favourite spot in Harare for everyday eating out.
Walking onto the premises I did immediately feel at ease, the staff are excellent – attentive, confident and friendly. The tables are simply laid and there are homely pictures on the walls both inside and outside on the verandah where we chose to sit. Quality imported condiments offset paper napkins to make Da Eros food good but ambience simple and pleasing.
Breadsticks and delicious crusty ciabatta bread arrived on the table with salsa, garlic, butter and a basic salad for each of us. We were impressed before we even looked at the menu and dressed our snacks in their authentic Italian olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
We then set about the menu to get some starters going. Two people opted for the chicken livers ($6). I like chicken livers, but these were very salty and had a powerful meaty taste – a bit indelicate overall. In contrast, the haloumi ($6) ordered by someone else wasn’t nearly as salty as expected. It came in a huge portion, massive, deep fried cubes of it on cocktail sticks, with a few lettuce leaves and some sweet chilli sauce – it was practically a main course! The cheese itself was mild for haloumi, soft and lightly pressed so not like the more chewy stuff I cook with from the shops. It was good, though I prefer my own home-cooked version.
My choice was the boldly named Crespelle di Pollo e Fungi ($6), a chicken and mushroom crepe whichcame very mildly seasoned, but was creamy and enjoyable. I think Da Eros could do better with their starters, reduce their sizes and the prices, and go for more delicate flavours and presentation.
For mains there was a Siciliana pizza ($13), the Spaghetti al Catoccio ($16) a seafood spaghetti, the fillet steak ($16), and I ordered the oxtail with polenta ($16). We waited about fifteen minutes and our plates arrived simultaneously, all hot and looking good. Da Eros don’t skimp on the portion sizes, and we were duly impressed.
My oxtail was very tender and the gravy was rich and delicious. For the uninitiated, polenta is a lot like sadza, and is a fine starch to accompany oxtail.
The pizza base was thin and crispy, though a bit more topping would not have gone amiss. This particular pizza comes with anchovies and olives. Size-wise, it’d satisfy a hungry eater.
The steak eater reported to me that the meat was tender and well prepared, but sent back the pepper sauce as it was very thick because of too much flour. The fillet was 200g, so not huge.
Overall, the winning dish, from what I could tell after sampling a big forkful, was the seafood spaghetti.It came in tinfoil to let the flavours steep into the pasta, which they did. It was creamy, light, and reminded me of Christmas holidays to South Africa’s coast. From my scrutiny I could see lots of mussels in it and the garlic and parsley pulled it together with freshness.
I was completely stuffed at this point. We ended up taking home lots of food, half a pizza, steak, and oxtail bones for the dogs. Dessert was not an option, though the 20-times eater whom I ate with said that their frozen yoghurt is great, so try that next time you’re there. We did enjoy espressos, and they also give each diner a digestif to finish off with – a lemon infused alcoholic shooter to supposedly help with our digestion, though a brief search online shows that there is little scientific evidence to back this up. It is another complimentary menu item to add to the overall Da Eros experience though.
All in all, I will be going back to Da Eros. They have a great selection of dishes on their menu, and the service was spot on. Pricewise… they are probably about right for our horribly inflated Zim market, maybe a little ahead of the curve given their decent portions. I still begrudge eateries $20 for any main course using Zimbabwean beef for instance, and though the fillet was $16 at Da Eros, it was just 200g. I’ve said it before and I stick by my guns – there is a gap in the Harare market for somewhere looking for high volumes of diners eating at affordable prices. Four menu options available on any given day, cheap drinks, quick service, meals at $10…
I recommend Da Eros for the very hungry! And consider the seafood pasta – it was my flavour of the day.