Cracking the Tinkabell oyster

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Robert Mukondiwa Bringing Out My Choppers
Making my way to Tinkabell’s Restaurant last week for a meal with the team ushered a new reality to me. Nestled in the bodice of Adbennie is the much talked about spot that I had long since heard about and was soon to discover.
Unfortunately, I figured George Bush Jr (Dubya) might well have discovered this place before me.
The road seemed plucked straight out of Afghanistan after a flying through of the 82nd airborne on a George Dubya mission to root the place of Taliban and other unwanted people in this age of terror or worse still the Marines.
No road can ever be that curiously bad. It also sets the tone for the restaurant at the end of the road one would suspect.
But that pre-emptive decision making is wrong.
Entering the grounds one sees something so serene and totally different. Like some sadist deliberately potholed the road to deter people from finding one of the calmest atmospheres in the world of dining in Zimbabwe today!
Atmosphere doesn’t fill your stomach, of course, but when it’s done right, it can slow you down and wake your senses to the smells and tastes on the way. This is exactly what I found when I walked to join the rest of the team who had gone a good half hour ahead of me.
I was fashionably late and because it wasn’t a wine tasting I know Stan wouldn’t raise hell about my being tardy. That and the fact that I had a perfect reason for such.
I quickly dashed to the starter of the day which was crumbed mussels. Ordinarily I would have wanted a soup out and out but they did not have one on the day. The ocean is my market and I knew I wouldn’t go wrong with mussels however and I went ahead with them; but a big surprise awaited me.
I have had them crumbed but I fell in love with crumbed mussels all over again as they were delightful. The crumbs baked golden and crisp, I felt the need to just eat them as was just to feel the crunch and absorb.
The waiter, whose name I deliberately decided not to take, operated (and that is the word) like clockwork! On point, on time, flawless.
Taking his name would have meant his number and then eventually nicking him from Jasmine and Rui Fonseca when I hit my first million and need the perfect butler. Perfection is hard to find!
Dashing from behind as my mates were already on their way to the finish line, I decided the best thing to do would be to have their specialty which Di Rodrigues had had as well. There should be something like the MiDi’s Touch (forget Midas); everything she touches turns to be the perfect choice.
And so it was the chicken I went for. And I chose the extra hot as well. The kitchen gave the chicken, that old war horse, a new lease on life. It was delightful but slightly disappointing.
I have always wanted my chicken as if the heat is about to rain down like Judgment Day type of thing. Turned out the ‘extra hot’ would in my world be something I would make for Mary Poppins; tame.
But for someone who ‘listens’ to the dictates of the hot spices, I discovered perhaps this was for the best and for the first time in a long time actually appreciated the texture, the artistry in making sure the chicken is cooked well and well done without going a second over or under. Chicken is tricky that way.
The “extra hot” (read mild), turned out to be a great choice like that but with half of it to stuff down, I decided to take the rest with me. Large birds they were I must admit. Di also found she could not dispatch half a chicken at one go. Had we done so our tummies would have qualified for a fowl run no doubt!
Sue Macmillan, who I was dining formally with for the first time, had very red-light-district type of King Prawns. The ones that look at you from somebody else’s plate and say “come and take me baby”! just like the “ocean” that is the Avenues.
As we were dining formally for the first time I resisted the urge to say “can I have some Sue”? yet she attested to the fact that she had not had them that good in quite a bit. I need to go back for them no doubt.
A wide selection of wines was also available but I had about half a gallon of alcohol coasting calmly through my veins after the previous evening’s shenanigans so alcohol, of any kind, was out.
And did I mention the delightful band that was playing and giving the whole place the perfect ambience that made you forget you were in some place that resembled Kandahar after a night of mortar attacks.
Soon to be a thing of the past, if what Rui said happens fast enough. With the Pepsi factory about to be completed and other gentrification projects in the pipeline, the place is set to have a facelift and the surveyors are already paving way for a perfect road to the perfect spot.
It currently is an oyster that needs prying open. A terrible exterior but what lies inside is the delightful beauty that is Tinkabells named after a beloved nan!
Certainly worth a visit. But wipe everything off your program for the rest of the day. You want to stay there a little bit longer!
And did I mention terrorist in the beginning? Well we encountered them soon after holding spikes and delaying us before making poor Sue pay a $10 fine for goodness knows what.
Introducing himself as constable Mugabe he went on to sign another name on the receipt confirming our worst fears. The terrorist network needs REAL name tags and not just to give us their names. Many of those are phoney names to give a detestable practice the façade of normalcy no doubt.
Fortunately, because we had had scrumptious and rich chocolate hazelnut cake and much needed rich strong coffee to wash the awesome meal down, we were too full to pick up a fight. When the place is gentrified, perhaps they may want to clear the terrorists down the road?
A delightful day out on the whole!

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