La Fontaine's new menu befitting of its 60th anniversary.

LA FONTAINE restaurant in Harare has introduced a new menu, resulting from an exercise by executive chef Bosco Govera to enhance the previous menu offering with extensive additions and novelties, alongside retained popular dishes.

The restaurant is this year celebrating its 60th anniversary, having first opened its doors on December 8, 1958, and now laying claim to be Zimbabwe’s second longest-running dining venue. The longest-running venue is the Livingstone Room at The Victoria Falls Hotel, which opened in 1917 and has now given diners 102 years of service.

When Chef Govera took over as Meikles Hotel’s executive chef last year, he was tasked with revamping all the menus within the hotel, including that in the flagship La Fontaine, which is an award-winning, fine dining venue and was originally named for the fountains in Africa Unity Square, over which the dinners have a superb daytime view.

He decided to retain dishes that have been popular over many years within the restaurant while bringing in new dishes that include content with which he has become familiar during his two decades of travels in Southern and West Africa as a chef for various leading hospitality operations. Among the favourite dishes of many diners are the steaks and crepes Suzette that are prepared on the flambé trolley in front of the diners, as well as the traditional dessert and cheeseboard trolley that is followed by the liqueur trolley to tables.

As a leading international hotel, Meikles must ensure that guests have access to a steady supply of top quality ingredients, with use of modern styles of presentation. In addition, with an increasing move to vegetarian dining by many consumers, there is a need to ensure a satisfactory variety for non-meat eaters. Chef Bosco has introduced a number of dishes that incorporate cuisine styles from countries in which he has worked, including Nigeria.

Along with the introduction of a new menu has been the preparation of a new wine list, an exercise overseen by operations manager Victor Saurombe, who has selected popular longstanding labels as well as new labels to give variety and novelty. Among the wines available to diners are labels from South Africa, France and Italy.

Completing the exercise has been the printing of a stylish and colourful La Fontaine menu, which reminds guests of the restaurant’s rich history, and details the content of the dishes, from soups and starters to salads and main courses. Brief descriptions of the dishes help diners gain insight into the flavours, content and styles to expect from the dishes they have ordered.

La Fontaine restaurant is open on weekdays for lunch and dinner, and on Saturdays and Sundays for dinner only. Music plays a key role in the venue, with a pianist on duty for lunchtime and evening accompaniment, and a resident band, Summer Breeze, playing dining and dance music on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Maitre d’hotel George Chindiya is in charge of the serving staff and is particularly keen on getting to know regular guests better so that he can anticipate their needs and recommend ways of enhancing their La Fontaine experience.