By By Francis Mukuzunga
December2010/January 2011
Eating Out
MOST people who prefer dining out think that Nice Restaurant is only meant for “those with big bucks”.

You will be forgiven to find out that besides the place being upmarket; one can still come and grab a less expensive meal at any time of the day while listening to some good music. Theo’s @ Nice is the new name of the former Nice Bar.

There is also a new dining facility around the bar counter where all forms of drink can be ordered. The two venues still complement each other at the cleverly designed building within Windhoek West’s environs near the Polytechnic of Namibia.

According to Stephan Brueckner, Managing Director of the restaurant, Theo’s offers a new dimension to the restaurant, offering value-for-money and yet affordable quick meals with a hint for sophistication for the trendy diners who may not have time to make their own meals at home.

Theo’s @ Nice is a separate entity to the Nice restaurant and is individually branded as a place to visit even without having dinner at the Nice restaurant. Complementing a wide selection of the finest South African handpicked wines, Theo’s offers a delicious pub grub menu, which is not easy to pass by.

The menu at Theo’s comprises of nibbles (or platters), Carpaccio (cold stuff), a good pizza or pasta range, the popular Theo’s Burger, spare ribs, sea foods, chicken dishes and desserts and even fish and chips. The menu may seem very light and budget conscious but the restaurant will serve the dishes in a particular manner that will tantalise the taste buds. Trainee chefs and staff from the Nice help to bring a life of good hospitality into the new venue.

Adding to this, some fresh herbs and vegetables to complement the succulent dishes at both Nice Restaurant and Theo’s @ Nice are picked from a garden at the back of the building. The professionally designed garden will always make available the greens that may be needed in the kitchen at any time of the year.

“After doing research a few months ago we found out that there is a reasonable market for a quick meal or a drink with friends after a hectic day at work. The meals are generally single course and less sophisticated. That’s what one finds in the main restaurant. The best time that we are earmarking during the day is from sunset up to about 21h30 after which customers can enjoy themselves at the bar. Of course, one can eat even up to midnight, depending on which day of the week has less congestion,” says Brueckner.

Although situated right next to Nice Restaurant, Theo’s @ Nice has its own branding characterised by the green padded chairs, lots of outside and inside seating areas, a lounge, bar and speakers that can be used on Fridays, Saturday or some Sundays when the restaurant hosts a DJ or a live band.

“We are going to put a canvas roofing, stage and high quality sound system in the courtyard in the next few weeks so that people can enjoy live music. Already, on Saturday nights we have popular DJ Kenny Adams and every first Sunday of the month we have the Sunday Jazz Brunch in collaboration with Tafel Lager as sponsors. This is proving very popular. Very soon, a new concept called Nice Friday will be introduced to cater for those who want to start their weekend in style while enjoying nice dance music.”

However, Brueckner states that Theo’s will still cater for the mature and integrated audience. Therefore, smart casual dress code is enforced. He adds that Theo’s would be an ideal place for those who like to integrate with people from other parts of the country and tourists can visit without fear of being harassed in “nightclub style”.

The Nice Tafel Lager Music Festival kicked off on September 18 2010 and lasted until 18 December 2010. Already a number of artists have performed on some Saturdays and Sundays, to a much appreciative crowd, says Ernst Herma, who is promoting the shows` together with the sponsors.

Mojo Electric Blues Band, a five- piece outfit that has Piet Stoman on vocals, Thomas Bokemueller on guitar & Hu De San on saxophone & blues harp kicked off the first unplugged show.

Songbird Tequila, the African sounds of Mpho Heita and Blossom have also graced the restaurant, while revellers dined.

The Sunday jazz brunch show kicked off on October 3 with the Fu Jazz All Stars Band, a group of professional musicians from different walks of life who have three things in common – supreme craftsmanship, total freedom of improvisation and an insatiable lust for Jazz.

On October 9, Omidi D’Afrique, a popular reggae outfit featuring Ras Fari and female vocalist Oye presented a potpourri of covers from Kassave to Peter Tosh and Bob Marley as well as original Omidi-hits like ‘Oshifima Evanda’.

More shows will be lined up with such musicians as Erna Chimu, Penilane, acappela group Vocal Motion 6 (VM6), jazz songstress Sharon Van Rooi, guitarist Elemotho , Small Town Tramp featuring Tania, Formula Band featuring Panduleni, Afro-pop maestro Big Ben, Patricia Ochurus & the Heritage Band, Zimbabwean mbira player Onai and many other supporting and surprise artists will grace the stage offering a brand new and unique flavour to the Namibian entertainment scene on alternating Saturdays and Sundays till Christmas time.

Should Theo’s hold its own, Windhoek West could become an intercultural melting pot for those who just want to have a nice time, have a nice conversation and listen to nice music and of course, grab a nice quick meal. PF