When I went back home to Zimbabwe, I was lucky to have my friend Nora visit me, so I took her around the country and we landed up in Victoria Falls. In our two days in the city we accomplished quite a lot. We walked with lions (yes that is a thing), saw the extravagant, thunderous falls and went on a sunset cruise, witnessing the magnificent hippos and crocodiles in the Zambezi river. But walking with lions in the depth of the African bush really builds up an appetite, and so we needed some good food. We heard rave reviews about a restaurant, The Three Monkeys, close to our hotel and had to give it a try. The restaurant was dimly lit with a candle on each table (probably to drive away the incessant mosquitoes), with two levels and a bar in the center of the upper level. The restaurant was out in the open, with only a roof as cover, and all the furniture was made from wood. The menu, the most interesting aspect of the restaurant was very different than any others. They have the basics, wood-fired pizzas, burgers, salads and wraps, but for those adventurous tourists they had a unique touch in their menu. They had game meat! I love trying new foods, but I was not quite sure whether I wanted to go down the game meat route because I very rarely eat red meat. However, after a little deliberation we decided to give it a try because the chance to try this cuisine does not come often.
Normally one wouldn’t picture wild animals on a fine dining menu or as an option at all in a restaurant, but in cities that cater to tourists on safaris, game meat is not so uncommon. People may think that it is awful to eat such beautiful animals, and why should we kill them, but if there is an influx of one type of animal in the bush/Savannah, this harms the whole ecosystem. Nevertheless, I always try to be adventurous with my food instead of sticking to the same dish of chicken or pasta that can be found almost anywhere.
We decided to share, both a starter and a main course. As a starter we order kudu carpaccio, and as a main, their trio of meats, with their meats of the day as beef, antelope and kudu. I do admit, I was skeptical and scared to try, but it blew away any negative expectations. The carpaccio was very delicate and smooth, finely plated on a wooden chopping board, we both devoured it, wishing we had more. Next came the trio of meats! Three meats pieces were served hanging from a metal rod, separated by onion rings, with fries and mushroom sauce on a wooden plate in the middle. Trying to get the meat off the metal rod was a workout in itself before the main course – we really worked ourselves an appetite. The beef was a normal fillet, tender and juicy, but the antelope and kudu fillets were the interesting part. The kudu tasted similar to the beef, a little tougher with a tangier taste. The antelope, however, was a lot tougher and harder to eat, with a grittier texture – even the steaks knives had a rough time cutting the meat (or maybe I’m just weak). All in all it was a great food experience. Not something one should have often, but as a one-time experience on holiday it was an exquisite and fascinating food journey through the wilderness of Zimbabwe.
PS yes we did walk with lions!
Written by Fatema Sachak