Happy New Year everyone thank you again for all your love and support throughout the years, we are starting off the year with a foodie post. Last month Adventures Of Bee And Moe were invited to Hombaze to try out their menu. Hombaze is an upmarket African Cuisine Restaurant serving traditional dishes from across the African continent particularly East, West, Central and Southern Africa. Moe and I love food and are always keen on trying out food from different countries so we were excited to see what Hombaze has to offer.
There are three Hombaze restaurants which are based at the Legacy Corner Mall in Sandton City, Parkmore and Pretoria. We went to the Sandton City branch, the restaurant is small and cosy with a relaxed atmosphere, black and orange colour scheme and some African artwork on the walls. The staff was friendly, efficient and always answering questions that we had asked about the food and origins of each dish as it is not mentioned in the menu, I think that the restaurant should add a short description of the origins of each dish in their menu.
Once seated we were greeted with a big glass of Palm Drink which is an alcoholic beverage created from the sap of various Palm trees. I didn’t enjoy it I felt that it was too strong and wasn’t a fan of the bitter yeast, slightly sour acidic taste, however Moe enjoyed it. Palm wine plays an important role in many ceremonies in Nigeria and in Central and Western Africa, it is drunk at weddings, birth celebrations and at funerals and it is often infused with medicinal herbs to remedy a variety of physical complaints.
We had a set menu with one starter, three main dishes to choose from and a choice of one dessert from the two options. For starters we had a trio dish which consisted of Gizdodo, Chicken Livers and Dombolo (dumplings). Gizdodo is chicken gizzards and plantain, this is a popular Nigerian dish, plantains are members of the banana family but almost tastes like a sweet potato it is starchier and has less sugar than a normal banana. The Gizdodo and Chicken Livers are fried with onions, herbs and bell peppers, I could also taste the sweetness of tomatoes in the chicken livers.
Moe and I are not really fans of chicken gizzards and livers but surprisingly enjoyed both and they paired well with the dombolo, the dombolo is not like the usual dumplings in stews but looks more like bread and has a homemade bread texture. For me this dish needed to be eaten with your hands by scooping up the Gizdodo and Chicken Livers with the Dombolo and allowing it to soak up the sauce from each dish. We enjoyed the Gizdodo and Chicken Livers separately, both dishes were flavourful, the Gizdodo had a slightly hard chewy texture from the chicken gizzards and the softness of the plantains while the Chicken Livers had a soft silky smooth texture and wasn’t over-cooked, you can taste when chicken livers are over cooked as they tend to taste bitter and are also dry in texture. The Dombolo was soft yet firm enough to hold the sauces from each dish and tasted great paired with the dishes and also on it’s own. The combination of textures and tastes in the starter worked well together and we found the dish to be quite filling. The presentation of the starter was beautiful and the food looked appetising when it arrived and pleasantly tasted the way it looked.
For mains we had a choice from three different meals the options were:
- Grilled peri-peri chicken served with fried rice and plantain,
- Fried beef with red stew served with jollof rice and plantain and
- Chapati served with S.A oxtail stew and
I decided to order the grilled peri-peri chicken served with fried rice and plantain while Moe opted for a different dish which we like to do so we can taste each others dishes, he order the fried beef with red stew served with jollof rice and plantain. We also ordered a side of Chapati to try with our dishes. Chapati is roti or unleavened flat bread it’s a staple in East Africa. The presentation of each dish really stood out for us, everything neatly separated without too much going on in each plate.
I really enjoyed the fried rice and plantain but wasn’t too impressed with my chicken as the outside had all these great flavours but the inside was dry, bland and not tender so I found it difficult to swallow resulting in me not eating half of my meal it also wasn’t spicy (peri-peri) at all. The Jollof rice from Moe’s dish was absolutely divine on it’s own, it’s savoury, a bit spicy and filled with loads of yummy flavour. Jollof rice is rice cooked with tomatoes, tomato paste (which is why it’s red in colour), onions and spices this is mainly a Nigerian and Ghanaian dish. The fried beef was in the actual stew (I thought it would be seperate) which looked more like a tomato chutney, the beef was very tough I tried breaking a piece off with my fingers to have with the chapati but it didn’t budge however the gravy/stew was delicious with the Jollof rice and chapati. Although the beef was tough and stringy it still had some great flavour. The stew without the meat was flavourful with a hint of spice and the plantain from both of our dishes were just fried it didn’t look or taste like it had anything extra added to it but it tasted good and was something that Moe and I tried for the first time. The Chapati was tasty with the stew and the outside of my chicken but also on it’s own, it was soft in texture not chewy and dry, almost as good as my mom’s roti 😉.
After our main course we were served a glass of Zobo which is a health beverage that is high in Vitamin C, Calcium, Iron and Fibre. The beverage is deep red in colour making it look like it is thick in texture but it is actually watery maybe slightly thicker, the drink contains Hibiscus, Ginger, Oranges and Pineapple. Moe and I both really enjoyed this drink and it was needed as we both felt fluish from sleeping with the fan on, this drink actually soothed my sore throat and chest, it has a pleasant ginger and citrusy taste and I wouldn’t mind buying a bottle to keep for whenever I feel sick as I prefer herbal remedies.
Lastly dessert…we had two options which were:
- Ice cream with chocolate sauce and
I was disappointed that the desserts weren’t “African” as the restaurant is known for African Cuisine and the theme should have been kept through to the desserts. I ordered the sorbet and Moe the ice cream with chocolate sauce. Once again it was beautifully presented as you can see in the pictures below. Two scoops of sorbet was served, one scoop being a passion fruit flavour and the other a mixed berry. Both delicious but I gravitated more towards the passion fruit, the sorbet was refreshing for the hot weather and it is the perfect palette cleanser. Moe’s ice-cream was boring and not very creamy and flavourful.
Overall we enjoyed our time at Hombaze it was relaxed and we got to catch up with fellow blogger/influencer friends but feel that the menu available to us should have had more of a variety of dishes from different African countries as it was majority Nigerian dishes and the desserts should have been African as they didn’t quite fit into the ‘African Cuisine’ theme.