No visit to the Victoria Falls Hotel would be complete without a dinner at the Livingstone Room. Although quite expensive at $40 per person for the six-course degustation menu (another $26 dollars for an appropriate glass of wine per course, which we decided to go without), Gareth and I felt it was an experience not to be missed.
We had high expectations of the evening, for which we dressed up in our formal evening wear as requested. I had visions of the two of us twirling around on the ballroom floor between courses, a stately Viennese waltz or perhaps a smooth foxtrot. Alas, that was not to be. Gareth and I were the first to arrive and, instead of the bustling ballroom and the clinking of cutlery we had expected, we were met by a deserted room and three snooty waiters. We were shown to our seats and our hopes picked up a bit when a man started playing the piano and another couple entered. A few minutes later a second couple sat down, but that turned out to be the extent of the Livingstone Room’s guests for the evening. A dissappointing start, but perhaps the food would make up for it.
(Once again, I must apologise for the quality of these photos. Please feel free to buy me a camera that can take better indoors and night-time pictures!)
First course: Amuse Bouche
The starter was a solitary piece of sushi that looked quite lost on the large white plate it was served on. One bite and it was gone, and I think it was here that we realised it was actually a good thing that we had already had snacks before we came to dinner and were not all that hungry.
Second course: Hand dived Loch Fyne king scallops with pea purree, kapenta, organic herb salad and a red onion and lime dressing
I don’t really know what scallops are, but I now know that I don’t particularly care for them. They were rubbery and had the consistency of what I imagine a cooked slug must feel like, so I only had a few bites and sent the rest back untouched, which earned me a disapproving look from our waiter.
Third course: Cream of parsnip and fennel soup with basil cream cheese
Absolutely delicious! My only complaint was that it was served in an espresso cup.
Fourth course: Aged Zimbabwean beef fillet with comfit new potatoes, oyster mushrooms, baby spinach, horseradish crust and bacon jus
Although once again a fairly small portion, the main course was delectable and it was here that I decided we had finally gotten our money’s worth.
Fifth course: The Livingstone Room cheese trolley
Next the waiter brought a trolley with a variety of cheeses and crackers to choose from. We’re not really cheese eaters and I think it was very obvious in our choices. Gareth stuck with the familiar (a hunk of cheddar), while I tried to be a little more adventurous and went for blue cheese and brie. Interesting, but as after-dinner courses go, not really my type of thing.
Sixth course: L’assiete a desserts
Desert was worth waiting for and consisted of a tiny, but delicious, serving of crème brûlée, strawberry mousse and a ball of chocolate on a slice of orange. Tea and coffee afterwards nicely rounded off the evening.
All in all we enjoyed our evening in the Livingstone Room, although we were disappointed by the lack of diners and therefore the general atmosphere in the room. We loved the silverware, the white pressed linen, the piano and the majority of the meal, but it didn’t quite live up to our expectations. It had the potential to be a very special evening out, but unfortunately can only be described as mildly entertaining in the end.
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