Eating out

A house is not a home unless it contains food and fire for the mind as well as the body. - Benjamin Franklin.

Its early in year again and as usual, the search for a good place for a morning cup of java or a grub for lunch is not inspired by one’s sense of taste but guided by the weight of the bill in one’s pocket.

In short, it is difficult to find a place where a cup of coffee and a plate of decent food won’t cost you an arm and a leg while leaving you with a frown on your face.

Once assigned to this task, I immediately headed for Square Cafe Illy in the Alexander Forbes House opposite OK parking. It is in the newly-renovated wing, deep inside the elbow of the building.

The food appeared to be fresh, I noted. But was it worth my hard-earned dollar? I pondered. My experience was that many a times, the service always outweighs the actual dish.

Once seated, I tried to find fault but was soon carried away by the smell of freshly roasted coffee, which I just love. I never quite liked Cappucino and always wondered what the fuss was all about. So naturally, I declined at first when the owner, Betty Labuscagne, tried to cajole me into having a cup of Cappucino but humility got the best of me.

But a few sips later, I wanted a second one and had been filled in on all there is to know about cream levels, which Betty took her time to explain to me. I did not even know that the leaf design on top of the Cappucino is a big deal but Betty made sure I will never have one without a perfect leaf.

It was 11 o’clock and the bistro was relatively full of guests, some sucking on cigarettes, others catching up as well as mothers blowing off steam after stationery shopping.

Then a waitress, Monalisa, typical with her namesake’s silent smile, asked for my order.

Not much of a meat lover, myself, I decided to have their chicken wrap, which is light, yet filling. I don’t really fancy the knife-and-fork affair and felt comfortable to embrace my wrap with my hands.

A bit messy though, I must admit but the filling made all that seem just as a mayonaisse blotch on the cheek. And the prices make you feel ungrateful if you’d wish to complain. Imagine paying N$49 for two wraps while some places in the city centre charge you about N$30 for just one.

With prices like these, you can have your lunch and forget about the bill; no need to worry yourself, because most meals are under N$50, with the cheapest dessert going for only eight dollars.

The interior design is also something to gape at, as the nicely-shaped glasses and royally-inspired cutlery make you feel special. The cups are so fragile you even get too scared to touch them out of fear of breaking them.

On several occasions, the somewhat over-friendly staff almost fell over their feet to serve us and I would like to believe they treat all their customers like that.

Once I had consumed half of one wrap, I fretted no longer about their loyalty towards clients because I enjoyed the delicacy, especially the bacon pieces inside the wrap. The chicken pieces were a bit dry and were a scoop of mayonnaise shy. But then, I could always wash it down with a gulp of coke.

Once blissfully satisfied, I looked around searching for what I could critique and it dawned on me that despite common belief and anticipation from many, good food is still affordable.

And you don’t need to tire yourself out in a long and dreary queue with no ushers lessening your burden of many shopping bags.

Here, your are infront of the bookshop, just a few steps away from the Optics - around the corner, you could easily find a shop for your cloth shopping, with the rest of your family waiting on you while they continue taking their lunch. PF