HIBACHI restaurants have become popular across the world due to the engaging style of cooking, yet not many Zimbabweans know such a restaurant can be found at the Rainbow Towers Hotel Kombahari Restaurant.
Hibachi is originally a popular traditional Japanese heating device, which slowly became adopted over the many centuries in modern restaurants’.
Famed for its use of a small, open cooking stove heated by charcoal (called shichirin in Japanese) or an iron hot plate (teppan), Hibachi has become a popular way of cooking meals.
This unique style of cooking allows customers to watch the chef at work while also interacting with him as the meal is prepared.
During preparation for the meal, customers are slowly hit with wafts of the food being prepared while the aroma slowly creeps into the nostrils to satisfy a person’s appetite.
The Kombahari Restaurant derives its name from the local Shona language which means “gathering around the pot” an idea to bring people together in merriment over a sumptuous array of meals.
As such, Rainbow Hotel prides itself in being the only ones to offer such an interactive experience between the chef and food.
Speaking of the chefs, Shingi Bandara, in particular, will treat customers to an experience they will never forget.
One of his gimmicks, while he cooks is to get the customers to try their hand at cooking while he directs them and also asks them to sing.
“The music helps me create my meals and allows me to engage the customer. I love cooking and making sure people are happy,” Bandara said.
International travel website company TripAdvisor also testifies to the Kombahari’s prowess, with most reviews remaining positive.
But, before people can get to the smooth style of Bandara and irresistible meals, one thought that comes to mind is the price.
Prices for appetisers run from $4 to $11, those for mains from $15 to $25, the “Asian Corner” from $16 to $32 and fish and seafood from $25 to $35. Desserts range from $10 to $12.
Kombahari is one of the three restaurants at the Rainbow Hotel after the African themed Harvest Garden and the fine dining place of La Chandelle.
Rainbow Hotel features 304 ensuite rooms comprising of 170 standard rooms, 64 standard twin rooms, and 70 towers rooms and suites.
The rooms come with facilities that include paraplegic rooms, non-smoking floors, city view and poolside facing rooms. Some of the facilities include air conditioning, satellite TV, telephone, Gym and sauna, business centre safe, hairdryer, mini-bar and in-room tea, Wifi, coffee facilities, and 24-hour guarded parking to name a few.
The hotel also features the Rainbow Hotel and Conference Centre or Harare International Conference Centre, known for hosting some of the biggest continental events as well as a multi-functional 4 500-seater auditorium, additional meeting rooms of various sizes, built-in interpretation booths, press galleries in the main auditorium, and exhibition space of 2 000 square metres among others!
Rainbow Towers Hotel general manager Trythings Mutyandasvika, said they were trying to offer more packages so that even “lower income earners can afford to have the experience of staying at the hotel. We want everyone to have the Rainbow Tourism Group (RTG) experience”.
The hospitality portfolio of the RTG remains quite diverse.
Just 140 kilometres outside Harare takes you to the Kadoma Hotel and Conference Centre (KHCC) which, as the name suggests, has built a name for itself as the conferencing venue of choice.
One highlight of the hotel is the two pronged greeting that meets guests upon arrival.
Firstly, a traditional dance group waits most times of the day ready to greet people with a sombre and traditional piece which is then followed by the words “Refreshing Morning, Afternoon or Evening”.
“Guest should be able to feel welcome when they come here and this is what we want to offer them. This place being outside Harare is just the place for people to come and relax,” Rainbow Kadoma Hotel general manager Paula January, said.
RTG Corporate Communications and Innovations manager Pride Khumbula said the refreshing greeting, a must at all of their branches, was a way to distinguish itself from the competition.
“We want people to feel relaxed when they visit any one of our branches to allow them to fully enjoy the RTG experience,” Khumbula said.
Currently, the Kadoma Hotel is under a phased product refurbishment worth $1 million which is expected to be completed in 2017.
The refurbishment includes the installation of modern air conditioning system in all the bedrooms, new contemporary furniture and linen for the bedrooms, mini bars in all the bedrooms, tiling in bedrooms and bathrooms, and the painting of exterior plus interior.
The hotel consists of 147 ensuite rooms comprising of 84 villa twins, four villa doubles, eight suites (including 2 executive suites), 33 casitas, and 18 lodges.
Each room consists of air conditioning, satellite TV, telephone and in-room tea and coffee facilities. About 40% of the refurbishment to the rooms has been completed.
The hotel’s Tigashire Restaurant, known for its “traditional style with a twist cooking” where traditional meals are prepared in new and interesting ways, also has a cafeteria, pool terrace outdoor bar and functions.
The attractions include a nine-hole golf club and course nearby, local sports club affiliation offering tennis, gym, soccer, squash, darts, snooker and bowls.
For those who are nature enthusiasts, they can catch the sight of peacocks walking around, giving perfectly timed distractions.
Kadoma Hotel also offers the usual services of Wi-fi, a business centre, swimming pool, laundry/dry cleaning service and on site table tennis, volleyball, netball pitch and snooker.
Back in Harare, in the Central Business District at the heart of the “Sunshine City” lays another up and coming hotel in the RTG portfolio, New Ambassador Hotel.
The New Ambassador hotel is an ideal business hotel on a budget. General manager, Huge Mandizha, said the hotel had been a experiencing a 40% bump in rentals at its hotel.
He said this had also been attributed to refurbishment with 50% having been completed for just under $500 000.
The upgrades include new beds in all the bedrooms including new linen and curtains, mini bars, a refurbished Bird and Bottle restaurant — new tiling and furniture, replacement of bath tubs, among others.
The New Ambassador Hotel has also become an entertainment hot spot with “The Breeze at the Top” set on the rooftop of the second floor of the hotel.
If people are wondering where they should dine and sleep, well having a “Refreshing Day” is the way to go.