Nicely fresh at Nice

From the outside, the Namibia Institute of Culinary Education (Nice) Restaurant looks very small but once you get inside it is amazing how spacious it is.

The restaurant is just a five-minute walk from Wernhil Mall just opposite One Africa Television and is along Hosea Kutako Road next to the Polytechnic of Namibia.

The restaurant was once a private residence before it was renovated as both a restaurant and a culinary school.

There were waitresses standing by door. One of them, who would attend to us, greeted us and showed us where to sit.

Once inside, on the right side of the corridor leading to the sitting area, is the kitchen and on the left is one of the two main bars.

Their famous in-house bar is also a favourite for many with some diners preferring to sit by the bar drinking whilst having some pizza.

Unlike any other restaurants, Nice has an option of a portable bar for those who would like a private room.

The restaurant is divided into different sections according to different themes. There are conference rooms; exclusive rooms for privacy; and the outside area is for those looking for fresh air while a sushi bar is on the other side.

These designs each shows a touch of unique retro and class as it conveys tradition and modernity.

Because it was hot, we sat outside where there was a bit of fresh air and our waitress brought us the menu card and offered us drinks. We declined the drinks because they were not on the house.

Because it was lunch time, we opted to order the main meal and skip starters.

I picked butterfish curry with two grilled tiger prawns and basmati rice while my colleague opted for a steak and chips.

I asked the waitress how they prepared the meal but since she had no idea, she brought the head chefs, Tinus Adraanse, who explained to me.

“The fish is fried in olive oil then mixed with curry sauce. The prawns are prepared separately on the grill and a lemon is sprinkled on top,” Adraanse says.

While waiting for our order, we toured the fresh produce garden between Nice and the Poly which is the source of their newly introduced salad menu.

Adraanse who also trains chefs told us about the different vegetables and herbs found in the garden. He was excited at the introduction of the new menu with a range of light and heavy salads.

Our orders finally came just after we had returned to our seats.

Everything in the plate blended in perfectly. The fish, cut in cubes, mixed with vegetables and curry and the rice mixed with lentils on the side were so appetising I could not wait to taste it.

A dash of sour cream poured on top of the fish curry gave the mixture a salty, sourly, tangy taste that melted in the mouth as they all came together.

Mixing the curry and rice together hit home as the whole world stopped and it felt like it was just me alone and my plate of food.

The restaurant has made a name for itself at home and even beyond the borders with Germans, Italians and Angolans frequenting the place.

They have also had the honour of hosting the president of the country.

The restaurant has made and witnessed history in the making with many life changing experiences like weddings, engagements and promotions taking place there.

Giving back to the community, the restaurant takes in 40 students every two years from the community who are trained to become chefs or food and beverage managers for free then helped to find jobs after they finish their training.

Not only do they cater for people’s needs at the restaurant but they are also flexible to offer outside catering. With a new sushi bar and a new lunch menu in the pipeline the restaurant promises to end the year with a bang. PF